Autistic-Like Traits in Children are Associated with Enhanced Performance in a Qualitative Visual Working Memory Task

Colin Hamilton, Irene Mammarella, David Giofrè

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Prior research has suggested that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) demonstrate heterogeneity in cognitive efficacy, challenged executive resources but efficient visual processing. These contrasts lead to opposing predictions about visuospatial working memory competency in both ASD and the broader autism phenotype (BAP); compromised by constrained executive processes, but potentially scaffolded by effective visual representation. It is surprising therefore, that there is a paucity of visual working memory (VWM) research in both the ASD and BAP populations. focusing upon the visual features of the to-be remembered stimulus. We assessed whether individual differences in VWM were associated with autistic-like traits (ALT) in the BAP. 76 children carried out the Visual JND task, designed to measure high fidelity feature representation within VWM. ALTs were measured with the Children’s Empathy Quotient and Systemizing Quotient. Analyses revealed a significant positive relationship between Systemizing and VWM performance. This complements ASD studies in visual processing and highlights the need for further research on
the working memory – long-term memory interface in ASD and BAP populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1494-1499
JournalAutism Research
Volume11
Issue number11
Early online date22 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018

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