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Face Memory Deficits in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Kirin Suri, Michael Lewis, Nicholas Minar, Emily Willson, Jessica Ace
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Face memory is critical for social functioning. Our study examined whether children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a face memory deficit relative to those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), another commonly occurring neurodevelopmental condition that is associated with socio-emotional and cognitive deficits. Children and adolescents with ASD and ADHD as well as typically developing (TD) peers were randomly allocated to experimental conditions based on face-looking time during the learning phase of an assigned face memory task. Our goal was to determine whether children and adolescents with ASD would demonstrate poorer face memory skills than their ADHD and TD counterparts, and whether increased face-looking time would improve face memory in children and adolescents in these three diagnostic categories. Results revealed that children and adolescents with ASD exhibit a face memory deficit compared to their ADHD and TD peers that does not improve even after increasing the duration of time spent looking at faces.

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