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Remembering the past and imagining the future in autism spectrum disorder

Crane, L., Lind, S. E. & Bowler, D. M. (2012). Remembering the past and imagining the future in autism spectrum disorder. Memory, 21(2), pp. 157-166. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2012.712976


Recent research has revealed that episodic memory (remembering past experiences) and episodic future thinking (imagining future experiences) rely on the same underlying neuro-cognitive system. Consistent with this suggestion, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been shown to experience difficulties in both domains. In the present study, 18 adults with ASD and 18 typical adults performed sentence completion tasks assessing the ability to generate past and future events. Contrary to previous research findings, results demonstrated that adults with ASD performed at an equivalent level to typical adults when generating both past and future events; generating a higher number of specific events when recalling past (relative to simulating future) events, and a higher number of semantic associates when simulating future (relative to recalling past) events. Results are discussed with respect to methodological factors affecting task performance in ASD including the social nature of the research, the need to verbalise memories to the experimenter, and whether or not the specific memory request is explicit.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Memory on 20/8/2012, available online:
Publisher Keywords: autism spectrum disorders, autobiographical memory, episodic memory, episodic future thinking, prospection, mental time travel
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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