Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 880–890 | Cite as

Learning Curve Analyses in Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Are Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Truly Visual Learners?

  • Lászlό Erdődi
  • Renée Lajiness-O’Neill
  • Thomas A. Schmitt


Visual and auditory verbal learning using a selective reminding format was studied in a mixed clinical sample of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (n = 42), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (n = 83), velocardiofacial syndrome (n = 17) and neurotypicals (n = 38) using the Test of Memory and Learning to (1) more thoroughly characterize and examine the integrity of learning and memory processes, (2) to better understand the mechanisms of learning impairment, and (3) to inform instructional practices in ASD. Contrary to expectations, children with ASD demonstrated a relative weakness in the rate of acquisition of visual in contrast to verbal learning compared to neurotypicals. They also showed a complex pattern of consolidation. Overall, between-group differences were more likely to emerge during the visual learning task, suggesting that it may be more sensitive for detecting neurodevelopmental differences. The heuristic value of assessing memory and learning across multiple trials and comparing performance during immediate and delayed recall is discussed.


Autism VCFS ADHD Learning curves Memory consolidation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lászlό Erdődi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Renée Lajiness-O’Neill
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas A. Schmitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEastern Michigan UniversityYpsilantiUSA
  2. 2.Neuropsychology Section, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Michigan Health SystemsAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryDartmouth Medical SchoolHanoverUSA

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