The Episodic Memory Profile in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Bayesian Meta-Analysis

Jason W Griffin, Russell Bauer, Brandon E Gavett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Although autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are commonly characterized by diminished episodic memory, the literature in this area is mixed. We address these inconsistent findings by employing multilevel Bayesian meta-analysis to quantify episodic memory differences between individuals with ASD and typically developing (TD) controls. We used meta-regression to evaluate the effects of test modality (e.g., word list, story recall), delay interval (immediate vs. delayed), retrieval demands (recognition vs. recall), and sensory modality (auditory vs. visual) on episodic memory in ASD. A total of 338 effect sizes from 113 empirical articles, including 5,632 unique participants (ASD = 2,777, TD = 2,855), were included. Results show that the memory deficits associated with ASD were larger for recall (g = -0.52, se = 0.04, 95% CrI [-0.60, -0.43]) compared to recognition (g = -0.25, se = 0.05, 95% CrI [-0.35, -0.14]) and differed based on the testing modality. For example, effect sizes were smallest for words (g = -0.28, se = 0.05, 95% CrI [-0.38, -0.18]), pictures (g = -0.38, se = 0.07, 95% CrI [-0.52, -0.24]), and figure reproduction (g = -0.49, se = 0.11, 95% CrI [-0.70, -0.27]). However, effect sizes for sentences (g = -0.59, se = 0.20, 95% CrI [-1.00, -0.21]), stories (Hedges' g = -0.54, se = 0.08, 95% CrI [-0.69, -0.38]) and staged events (g = -0.75, se = 0.10, 95% CrI [-0.95, -0.55]) were much larger. These findings suggest that ASD is associated with a small to medium reduction in scores on episodic memory tests relative to TD controls.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuropsychology Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 May 2021

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