Evaluating information processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The case for Fuzzy Trace Theory

Haylie L. Miller, Timothy N. Odegard, Greg Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Literature on the developmental trajectory of cognition in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) presents several inconsistent findings. In this review, we focus on information processing, and specifically, the use of gist and verbatim representations to guide memory, reasoning, and concept formation. The added perspective of Fuzzy Trace Theory may help to resolve mixed results regarding the frequency, nature, and effectiveness of gist processing in ASD by providing established process models and tasks suitable for use in individuals at all levels of functioning. In order to demonstrate the utility of FTT to the field of ASD research, we present evidence from three complementary theories-Weak Central Coherence (WCC), Executive Function (EF), and Theory of Mind (ToM)-which have dominated the landscape to date. We discuss the potential utility of FTT tasks and process models, proposing testable hypotheses that address ambiguous or conflicting results in the current literature. Applying a theory of typical development to the study of ASD may add value to past and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-76
Number of pages33
JournalDevelopmental Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cognition
  • Development
  • Fuzzy Trace Theory
  • Gist
  • Memory


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