City Research Online

Relational memory in children with autism spectrum disorder and reduced language

Derwent, C.T. (2018). Relational memory in children with autism spectrum disorder and reduced language. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Evidence from memory studies demonstrating impaired relational processing in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has most commonly been based on the learning of verbalisable material (such as lists of words) by high-functioning, verbally-able participants with ASD, who are matched to a control group on full-scale IQ scores, which limited any commentary on the universality of these difficulties across the spectrum. The current research aimed to develop a set of non-verbal tasks that test relational memory, to examine the level of this ability in children with ASD and reduced language.

It aimed to replicate some of the characteristic impairments found in relational memory in high-functioning individuals with ASD, in order to generalise these impairments to the autism spectrum as a whole. This was done by adapting behavioural paradigms which have already been used with non-human animals, and which measure relational memory non-verbally, for use with humans with and without ASD. This aimed to provide paradigms which would be suitable for all participants with ASD, and to provide more rigorous tests of relational memory in ASD, independent of the level of functioning of the individual. The current research has shown that the paradigms adapted are effective measures of relational memory, which are suitable for use with all individuals with ASD, at any level of functioning. These findings extend the previous research demonstrating characteristic impairments in relational memory in high-functioning individuals with ASD, to include individuals with ASD who would be considered lower-functioning. They also support the view that individuals with ASD have potentially compromised hippocampal function.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Text - Accepted Version
Download (1MB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login