The development of episodic autobiographical memory (EAM) has been well documented in those with typical development (TD), yet many questions remain about the development of EAM and its operations in those with high functioning autism (HFA). In this study, youths (9 to 18 years old) with and without HFA (N = 48) participated in a semi-distressing event and then 3 weeks later were interviewed using one of two forensic interview protocols (10 Step or Cognitive Interview [CI]). Accuracy was assessed via cued recall narratives and responses to direct questions. Individual differences in working memory, cognitive flexibility, and pragmatic language were assessed. Results indicated that, although HFA youths’ cued recall memory for event details was diminished, memory accuracy for people, actions, and objects depended upon interview protocol and youth age. Younger HFA youths performed comparably to younger TD youths when receiving the 10 Step protocol. Yet, older HFA benefitted more from the Cognitive Interview’s methods. Deficits in working memory, cognitive flexibility, and pragmatic language were more readily associated with performance in the CI condition and for youths with HFA. Indirect effects of age on memory performance via individual differences were observed mainly for the HFA group; maturational changes in these abilities may be occurring during adolescence, a period when youths with HFA begin to use compensatory mechanisms to perform EAM tasks. Direct question performance did not vary diagnostically, expanding the application of the task support hypothesis to a younger age. Implications for existing theories and forensic interview methods are discussed.
|Advisor:||Goodman, Gail S., Mundy, Peter C.|
|Commitee:||Hastings, Paul D.|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Developmental psychology, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Autism, Law, Memory|
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