Emotional false memory in autism spectrum disorder: More than spared.

To advance what is known about how emotions affect memory in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we examined emotional false memory for negative, positive, and neutrally valenced photographs comprising scripts of everyday events in a verbal IQ-case matched sample of youth ages 8—14 with ASD (N = 38) and typical development (TYP, N = 38). The groups exhibited many similarities. Their task performance during a recognition task including previously seen and unseen photographs was largely comparable. They evidenced high hit rates for previously viewed photographs, and low false alarm rates for lure photographs that were inconsistent with the scripts. Both ASD and TYP groups showed relatively higher false alarms for lure photographs depicting previously unseen causes of scenario outcomes (causal errors) compared to errors for script-consistent lure photographs that showed extra potentially related events (gap-filling errors). In both groups, task performance was associated with verbal working memory, but not attention deficit hyperactivity, anxiety, or depression symptoms. However, the ASD group made more causal and gap-filling errors on negative and positive, but not neutral, lures compared to TYP, indicating that viewing emotionally valenced stimuli made it harder to discriminate previously seen and unseen photographs. For the ASD group, task performance was associated with compulsive, ritualistic, and sameness behaviors and stereotypic and restricted interests. Findings suggest that the integration of cognition and emotion in ASD is altered and associated with the presence of repetitive behaviors. The impact of these results on the lives of individuals with ASD and implications for psychosocial interventions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)