Get access

Time perception and its relationship to memory in Autism Spectrum Conditions


Lara Maister, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK; e-mail:


Timing is essential for the development of cognitive skills known to be impaired in Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), such as social cognition and episodic memory abilities. Despite the proposal that timing impairments may underpin core features of ASC, few studies have examined temporal processing in ASC and they have produced conflicting results. The present study first addressed discrepancies between previous experiments before testing the assumption that timing impairments may underpin key aspects of autism, by relating differences in temporal processing in the ASC group to memory abilities. Errors in duration reproduction in high functioning children with ASC were observed for the shortest and longest duration tested. While the former was due to attentional factors, the latter was due to deficient timing related to atypical episodic memory processing. These findings suggest that temporal processing abilities play a key role in the poor development of both social cognition and episodic memory abilities associated with ASC.