Self-referential memory in autism spectrum disorder and typical development: Exploring the ownership effect

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Grisdale, E ; Lind, Sophie E. ; Eacott, M.J. ; Williams, David M. (2014)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2014.08.023
  • Subject: RC0321 | Ownership | Self-reference effect | BF | Autism spectrum disorder | Self-awareness. | Recognition memory

Owned objects occupy a privileged cognitive processing status and are viewed almost as extensions of the self. It has been demonstrated that items over which a sense of ownership is felt will be better remembered than other items (an example of the “self-reference effect”). As autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterised by an a typical self-concept, people with ASD may not demonstrate this “ownership effect”. Two experiments were conducted which replicate and extend Cunningham, Turk, MacDonald, and Macrae (2008). In Experiment 1, neurotypical adults completed a card sorting task and cards belonging to the ‘self’ were better remembered than cards belonging to another person. In Experiment 2, adults with ASD recalled self- and other owned items equally well. These results shed light both on the relation between sense of self and the ownership effect, and the nature of the self-concept in ASD.
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