Location of Repository

Memory and the self in autism : a review and theoretical framework.

By S.E. Lind


This article reviews research on (a) autobiographical episodic and semantic memory, (b) the self-reference effect, (c) memory for the actions of self versus other (the self-enactment effect), and (d) non-autobiographical episodic memory in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and provides a theoretical framework to account for the bidirectional relationship between memory and the self in ASD. It is argued that individuals with ASD have diminished psychological self-knowledge (as a consequence of diagnostic social and communication impairments), alongside intact physical self-knowledge, resulting in an under-elaborated self-concept. Consequently, individuals with ASD show impaired autobiographical episodic memory and a reduced self-reference effect (which may each rely on psychological aspects of the self-concept) but do not show specific impairments in memory for their own rather than others’ actions (which may rely on physical aspects of the self-concept). However, it is also argued that memory impairments in ASD (e.g., in non-autobiographical episodic memory) may not be entirely accounted for in terms of self-related processes. Other factors, such as deficits in memory binding, may also play a role. Finally, it is argued that deficits in autobiographical episodic memory and future thinking may result in a diminished temporally extended self-concept in ASD

Publisher: Sage
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1362361309358700
OAI identifier: oai:dro.dur.ac.uk.OAI2:7455

Suggested articles



  1. (2002). A lack of self-consciousness in autism.
  2. (2007). Autobiographical memory and suggestibility in children with autism spectrum disorder.
  3. (1995). Criteria for an ecological self. In
  4. (1975). Depth of processing and retention of words in episodic memory.
  5. (2008). Dissociation between key processes of social cognition in autism: Impaired Lind
  6. (2008). Episodic and semantic autobiographical memory in adults with autism spectrum disorders.
  7. (2001). Episodic memory and common sense: How far apart? doi
  8. (2000). Episodic memory and remembering in adults with Asperger syndrome.
  9. (1988). Five kinds of self-knowledge. doi
  10. (2003). Five levels of self-awareness as they unfold early in life. doi
  11. (1985). Memory and consciousness. doi
  12. (2010). Memory and the Self in
  13. (2010). Memory and the Self in Autism 48 doi
  14. (2010). Memory and the Self in Autism 49 Povinelli, doi
  15. (2003). Memory in autism: Review and synthesis.
  16. (1972). Mirror self-image reactions before age two.
  17. (2006). Mirror self-recognition beyond the face. doi
  18. (2006). Normal physiological emotions but differences in expression of conscious feelings in children with high-functioning autism.
  19. (2009). Pre-conceptual aspects of self-awareness in autism spectrum disorder: The case of action-monitoring.
  20. (2005). Recalling yesterday and predicting tomorrow.
  21. (2008). Remembering the past and imagining the future in schizophrenia.
  22. (1978). Self-recognition and stimulus preference in autistic children. doi
  23. (1984). Self-recognition in autistic children.
  24. (1988). Self-understanding in childhood and adolescence. New York:
  25. (2000). The construction of autobiographical memories in the self-memory system.
  26. (1983). The development of self-recognition: A review.
  27. (1990). The effects of involvement on children's memory for events.
  28. (2004). The emergence of autobiographical memory: A social cultural developmental theory. doi
  29. (2000). The episodic buffer: A new component of working memory?
  30. (1995). The self as an object of consciousness in infancy. In
  31. (1997). Toward a theory of episodic memory: The frontal lobes and autonoetic consciousness. doi
  32. (1996). Understanding memory in autism.
  33. (1991). Understanding the representational mind. doi
  34. (2004). Variability in the early development of visual self-recognition.
  35. (2009). What did I say? versus What did I think?: Attributing false beliefs to self amongst children with and without autism.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.