Speaker: Cristiane Souza (ISCTE - Lisbon University)
Topic: Declarative memories in ASD: the role of conceptual knowledge in retrieval and the hippocampal connectivity.
Abstract: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) present a distinctive pattern regarding declarative memories . Although their general semantic-memory is preserved [1,2], they present episodic-memory impairments associated with a compromised activity of the left hippocampal region indicating possible shortcomings in categorical processing . Moreover, they have difficulties in processing atypical-items (i.e., items that are less representative of their own category, as “penguin” as a “bird”) [2,3] in comparison with healthy participants, to whom the distinctiveness of atypical items enhances episodic-memory retrieval . Taking together, this possible pattern of impairments in both declarative memories suggests a compromised hippocampus-cortical network. Examining declarative memories interaction in this clinical group might provide relevant cues about the role of the hippocampus in human memory systems. The present study examined the role of conceptual knowledge - encoding-schemas (categorical X perceptive) and typicality (typical X atypical) - on retrieval in ASD in comparison with a typically developed control group. Specifically, we investigated the hypothesis that typicality-related impairment impacts retrieval in this clinical group due to alleged anomalies in hippocampal connectivity. Results are discussed in light of the interdependence hypothesis of semantic-memory and episodic-memory systems, particularly focusing on the role of the hippocampus in semantic memory-formation.
1. Gaigg, S. B., Bowler, D. M., Ecker, C., Calvo-Merino, B., & Murphy, D. G. (2015). Episodic recollection difficulties in ASD result from atypical relational encoding: Behavioral and neural evidence. Autism Research, 8(3), 317-327.
2. Carmo, J. C., Duarte, E., Pinho, S., Filipe, C. N., &, Marques, J. F. (2016). Preserved proactive interference in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(1), 53-63.
3. Gastgeb, H. Z., & Strauss, M. S. (2012). Categorization in ASD: The role of typicality and development. Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, 19(2), 66-74.
4. Alves, M., & Raposo, A. (2015). Is it a bird? Differential effects of concept typicality on semantic memory and episodic recollection. Revista Portuguesa de Psicologia, 44, 65-79.