Autobiographical memory, autonoetic consciousness, and identity in Asperger syndrome
Tanweer, T., Rathbone, C. J. and Souchay, C. (2010) Autobiographical memory, autonoetic consciousness, and identity in Asperger syndrome. Neuropsychologia, 48 (4). pp. 900-908. ISSN 0028-3932
To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.11.007
Previous results from research on individuals with Asperger syndrome (AS) suggest a diminished ability for recalling episodic autobiographical memory (AM). The primary aim of this study was to explore autobiographical memory in individuals with Asperger syndrome and specifically to investigate whether memories in those with AS are characterized by fewer episodic 'remembered' events (due to a deficit in autonoetic consciousness). A further aim was to examine whether such changes in AM might also be related to changes in identity, due to the close relationship between memory and the self and to the established differences in self-referential processes in AS. Eleven adults with AS and fifteen matched comparison participants were asked to recall autobiographical memories from three lifetime periods and for each memory to give either a remember response (autonoetic consciousness) or a know response (noetic consciousness). The pattern of results shows that AS participants recalled fewer memories and that these memories were more often rated as known, compared to the comparison group. AS participants also showed differences in reported identity, generating fewer social identity statements and more abstract, trait-linked identities. The data support the view that differences in both memory and reported personal identities in AS are characterized by a lack of specificity.