Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 11, pp 1371–1377 | Cite as

Memory Awareness for Faces in Individuals with Autism

  • Desirée A. Wilkinson
  • Catherine A. Best
  • Nancy J. Minshew
  • Mark S. Strauss
Original paper


Little is known regarding metacognition in individuals with autism. Specifically, it is unclear how individuals with autism think about their own mental states. The current study assessed memory awareness during a facial recognition task. High-functioning children (M = 13.1 years, n = 18) and adults (M = 27.5 years, n = 16) with autism matched with typically developing children (M = 14.3 years, n = 13) and adults (M = 26.9 years, n = 15) were tested. Children with autism demonstrated less accurate memory awareness for faces and less reliable differentiation between their confidence ratings compared to typically developing children. Subtle impairments in memory awareness for faces were also evident in adults with autism. Results indicate that broader metacognitive deficits may exist in individuals with autism, possibly contributing to other known impairments.


Autism Face recognition Memory awareness Theory of mind Metacognition 



This study was supported by an NICHD Collaborative Program of Excellence in Autism (CPEA) Grant P01-HD35469 and also by a Autism Speaks Pre-doctoral Mentor Based Fellowship Award in Autism Research. Preliminary versions of the findings were presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research, Seattle. We are grateful to Holly Gastgeb and Keiran Rump for testing participants and also for commenting on prior versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Desirée A. Wilkinson
    • 1
  • Catherine A. Best
    • 1
  • Nancy J. Minshew
    • 2
  • Mark S. Strauss
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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