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Subjective organisation in the free recall learning of adults with Asperger's syndrome

Bowler, D. M., Gaigg, S. B. & Gardiner, J. M. (2008). Subjective organisation in the free recall learning of adults with Asperger's syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(1), pp. 104-113. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0366-4


Single trial methods reveal unimpaired free recall of unrelated words in Asperger’s syndrome (AS). When repeated trials are used (free recall learning), typical individuals show improved recall over trials, subjective organisation of material (SO) and a correlation between free recall and SO. We tested oral (Experiment 1) and written (Experiment 2) free recall over 16 trials in adults with AS and typical individuals. Across both experiments AS participants showed marginally diminished recall. Poorer SO was seen in the Asperger group only in Experiment 2, but in both experiments, individual differences in SO in the Asperger group were less likely to converge over trials. This lack of convergence suggests that the AS group organise material in idiosyncratic ways.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Publisher Keywords: Asperger's syndrome, Memory, Free recall, Subjective organization, Learning
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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