Impaired memory for faces and social scenes in autism: Clinical implications of memory dysfunction

Diane L. Williams, Gerald Goldstein, Nancy J. Minshew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


A clinical memory test, the Wechsler Memory Scale-III (WMS-III), was used to study the auditory and visual memory of 29 high-functioning adults with autism and 34 group-matched normal controls. The individuals with autism performed as well as the controls on immediate and delayed memory for word pairs and stories and on a verbal working memory task. The autism group was impaired on immediate and delayed recall of faces and of family scenes and had impaired spatial working memory. The integrity of verbal working memory and impaired spatial working memory is consistent with the findings of other studies and may reflect the greater computational demands of the spatial task. Most importantly, the deficits in memory for faces and common social scenes, complex visual/spatial stimuli, demonstrate the contribution of memory dysfunction in autism to deficits in real life function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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