Atypical Memory Performance in an Autistic Savant

Laurent Mottron, Sylvie Belleville, Emmanuel Stip, Karine Morasse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the mechanisms underlying the hypermnesia of an autistic savant (NM) through three experiments. The first two served to assess whether absence of interference was responsible for NM's exceptional list memory. The third investigated the type of cues used in recall. Results indicated absence of retroactive interference but presence of slight proactive interference in list recall of proper names. Normal interference effects were found, however, in list recall of common nouns. Exceptional performance was also demonstrated in a missing-name task involving spatial and verbal recall cues. The findings suggest that the outstanding episodic memory presented by some savant persons with autism might be related to an abnormally high resistance to interference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-607
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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