Children with autism spectrum disorder do show self-processing biases: Evidence from an ownership paradigm

Karri Gillespie-Smith, Carrie Ballantyne, David J. Turk, Sheila Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract / Description of output

Self-concept is reported to be atypical in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and may be anchored within some of the associated social and cognitive impairments (the absent-self hypothesis - Frith, 2003). However, there are discrepancies in the ASD literature with both intact and impaired self-processing being reported (Gillespie-Smith et al., 2014; Lee et al., 1994). The current study aimed to explore self-processing biases in children with ASD using a more developmentally appropriate ownership paradigm (Cunningham et al., 2014). The ASD group (n = 18) were individually matched to groups of typical children based on chronological age (n = 18) and verbal mental ability (n = 18). Pairs of children (aged 4-15 years) sorted 56 picture cards depicting a range of different toys into self- and other-owned sets. A surprise recognition task revealed a significant memory advantage for self-owned items regardless of participant group. This effect was related to levels of sociocommunicative ability within the ASD group. These results highlight that, children with ASD do have an intact self-concept and can show the same self-processing biases as their typical counterparts. This self-processing however is linked to the level of socio-communicative ability across ASD and may help to elucidate the earlier reported discrepancies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2016
EventEPS / SEPEX Oxford Meeting - Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jul 201610 Jul 2016


ConferenceEPS / SEPEX Oxford Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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