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Brain correlates of declarative memory atypicalities in autism: a systematic review of functional neuroimaging findings

Desaunay, P., Guillery, B., Moussaoui, E. , Eustache, F., Bowler, D. M. ORCID: 0000-0002-9884-0627 & Guénolé, F. (2023). Brain correlates of declarative memory atypicalities in autism: a systematic review of functional neuroimaging findings. Molecular Autism, 14(1), article number 2. doi: 10.1186/s13229-022-00525-2


The long-described atypicalities of memory functioning experienced by people with autism have major implications for daily living, academic learning, as well as cognitive remediation. Though behavioral studies have identified a robust profile of memory strengths and weaknesses in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), few works have attempted to establish a synthesis concerning their neural bases. In this systematic review of functional neuroimaging studies, we highlight functional brain asymmetries in three anatomical planes during memory processing between individuals with ASD and typical development. These asymmetries consist of greater activity of the left hemisphere than the right in ASD participants, of posterior brain regions-including hippocampus-rather than anterior ones, and presumably of the ventral (occipito-temporal) streams rather than the dorsal (occipito-parietal) ones. These functional alterations may be linked to atypical memory processes in ASD, including the pre-eminence of verbal over spatial information, impaired active maintenance in working memory, and preserved relational memory despite poor context processing in episodic memory.

Publication Type: Article
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Publisher Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, Brain, Electroencephalography, Electrophysiology, Magnetic resonance imaging, Magnetoencephalography, Memory, Neuroimaging
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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