August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Spatial Working Memory in Children With High-Functioning Autism: Intact Configural Processing But Impaired Capacity
Author Affiliations
  • Yuhong V. Jiang
    Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
  • Christian G. Capistrano
    Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
  • Bryce E. Palm
    Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 42. doi:10.1167/14.10.42
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      Yuhong V. Jiang, Christian G. Capistrano, Bryce E. Palm; Spatial Working Memory in Children With High-Functioning Autism: Intact Configural Processing But Impaired Capacity. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):42. doi: 10.1167/14.10.42.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Visual attention and visual working memory exert severe capacity limitations on cognitive processing. Impairments in both functions may exacerbate the social and communication deficits seen in children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study characterizes spatial working memory and visual attention in school-age children with high-functioning autism. Children with ASD, and age, gender, and IQ-matched typically developing (TD) children performed two tasks: a spatial working memory task and an attentive tracking task. Compared with TD children, children with ASD showed a more pronounced deficit in the spatial working memory task than the attentive tracking task, even though the latter placed significant demands on sustained attention, location updating, and distractor inhibition. Because both groups of children were sensitive to configuration mismatches between the sample and test arrays, the spatial working memory deficit was not because of atypical organization of spatial working memory. These findings show that attention and working memory are dissociable, and that children with ASD show a specific deficit in buffering visual information across temporal discontinuity.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014

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