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Information is retained from two sources: external and internal. External sources are our perceptual processes such as sight, hearing, or becoming aware of something through the senses, whereas internal sources are involved with processes such as reasoning, imagination, and thought. When it comes to analyzing the processes people use to determine whether information initially originated from an external or an internal source this is referred to as reality monitoring. Reality monitoring is accredited to be responsible for the distinction and confusion between memories for thoughts and memories for perceptions. There is much research examining reality monitoring and, more generally, source monitoring, identifying the factors that influence false memories. These studies have provided a foundation for perceiving differences in those susceptible to false memories and beliefs, such as vulnerability to social influence,impulsiveness, and proneness to imagery. Recent studies and research focused on distinguishing both impaired and intact memory processes in individuals with autism, in order to investigate the central cognitive processes underlying autism. This paper will discuss if children with autism experience more difficulty distinguishing between real memories and false memories, and whether is it harder for them to communicate this information. INTRODUCTIONSource monitoring attributes an individual’s ability to determine the origin of their memories. Typically the source of the memory is incorrectly connected to a specific recollected experience. This concept pinpoints the factors that influence false memories such as similarity between sources, effects of association and schema, emotional focus and the criterion during recollection. Source monitoring can be separated into three categorizations. One form is the ability to distinguish memories derived from external sources. For example, if you were talking to two people and one of them made a statement, you can ,at a later time, recall which of the two made the statement. Another form of source monitoring is the ability to distinguish internally developed memories. Internal memories are derived from an individual’s own activity. For example, when recalling a past conversation, you can distinguish statements you actually said from statements you thought about saying). The third form of source monitoring is the ability to distinguish memories obtained from internal and external sources. For example, when recalling a conversation with a person, you can remember which statements they made and statements you made. This form of source monitoring is referred to as reality monitoring. SOURCE MONITORINGReality monitoring is the ability to differentiate between memories of events that actually happened from memories of imagined events. These two forms of memory are categorized as external, our perceptual processes,and internal , processes such as thought, cognition,reasoning, and imagination .Higher levels of sensory-perceptual information are found in events that actually happened. The model of reality monitoring is proposed to represent separation and confusion between perception and cognition. Usually, people can effortlessly make the distinction between imagination and internal thoughts from external experiences and memories. The concept of reality monitoring brings about these inquiries: What types of information are more likely to be depicted in external memories than in internal memories? What assumptions do individuals have about their thought memory compared to their perception memory? and What is the accuracy of assumptions?. Although, there are circumstances when we cannot recall if a person told us about something interesting or whether we read it ourselves. Other common examples would be is: if you remembered to lock the door before leaving the house or not or if you actually heard a sound or just imagined it.A recent study on reality monitoring revealed  that many people are not as good at making these distinctions as they might think. REALITY MONITORINGAutism, also referred to as “autism spectrum disorder’, is described as a variety of conditions indicated by difficulty with social skills and interaction, repetitive behaviors, speech and physical communication. Signs of autism become apparent during early childhood. An autistic individuals’ ability to communicate, and interact with others is limited. Children with autism are frequently preoccupied with their own feelings and interests and seem to create their own private world in which they have limited ability to successfully communicate and interact with others. Autistic children may encounter difficulty developing language skills and comprehending what others say to them. They also often have difficulty with nonverbal communication. This entails facial expressions, body and hand gestures and eye contact. Social development plays a major role in their capacity to communicate and use language. Some children with this disorder may not be able to communicate at all using speech or language. Some children may just have very limited speech ability and speaking skills. However, other autistic children may have advanced vocabularies and be capable of describing specific subjects in great detail. Autistic children tend to trouble understanding the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences as well as interpreting body language and the differentiation of vocal tones. Altogether these obstacles affect and hinder the ability autistic children to effectively interact with others, especially with children of the same age. “Several investigators have proposed that autism is similar to a medial temporal lobe amnesic disorder resulting from combined damage to the hippocampus and amygdala. This hypothesis is based on neuropsychological findings regarding memory skills in autism and neuroanatomical similarities between impairments in persons with autism and persons with amnesia” (Renner 2000). Our implicit memories are the effects of past experiences on current performance even when the individual is not actively trying to remember the past experience whereas our explicit memory is the conscious use of memory in order to perform a current task. Research investigating memory deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder has mainly concentrated on explicit memory task performance. Research findings showing neuroanatomical similarities between impairments in autistic people and amnesia patients, and neuropsychological findings demonstrating impaired explicit memory in persons with autism lead to the assumption that children with autism have similar memory deficits to patients with medial temporal lobe amnesia. AUTISMSource monitoring is an unconscious mental test that can help us determine if a memory is real as opposed to being from a dream, movie, imagination, etc. We use several sources to verify the source of a memory. Physical information about people and objects is also an important component of source monitoring. For example it helps us differentiate if the person walking towards us is a longtime friend and not a character from a movie. We use language and categorical input as well. Being aware of sources in one’s environment is referred to as external source monitoring. An example of this would be recalling which one of your siblings said something mean. Focusing on internal factors is referred to as internal source monitoring. An example of this is when you try to  distinguish between something you said aloud and something you said in your head. Brain injury, age, stress, depression, cognitive biases can all be potential causes for source monitoring errors. These are errors in which a specific recalled event is falsely credited to be the source of a specific memory. An example of a source monitoring error would be when you hear about an event from a friend, but later recall having hearing about it on the news. Another example would be incorrectly recalling a conversation that you thought happened in real life but actually happened in a dream. These memory errors are typically found in children who tend to confuse memories of different events.  Kim Roberts and Mark Blades conducted two studies. The used children of ages 4 and 10 years. They had the children watch two related events. The first event was live and the other was a video recording. Half of the children watched a video that was similar to the live event while the other half watched a video that was different. A week later, they found that children in the similar condition group confused the two events more compared to the children in the different condition group. The 10-year old children reported more information than the 4-year olds and were the information they reported was more accurate. In the second experiment When the events were presented 1 day after each other the children’s reports showed more inaccuracy than when the events were separated by two days, however, this did not influence the number of times the events were confused. The results of the study reveal that mere exposure to similar events in different media forms can manipulate memories, and relate to source monitoring error in children. “There is not much research into the metacognitive abilities of children with autism and only one study of source monitoring in children with autism, which is discussed below” (Farrant 1998). Metacognition requires a child to acquire some insight into their own and others mental abilities. Children with autism have an impaired understanding of their own and other’s mental states. Meaning their insights into other aspects of mental functioning may, as well, be impaired. Research on the memory abilities of autistic people have not found any difference between the performance of people with autism and matched controls. However, there have been studies that have found impairments in the memory abilities of autistic people compared to controls. This was evident in the experiments where they had to recall related words, recall the order in which words were presented and recall the order and context of recent events. The results of the research that analyzed the memory abilities of autistic people did not indicate a definite pattern of impairment. Although it did reveal a correlation between tests of planning strategies and memory impairments in people with autism. CHILDREN W/ SMIn a study conducted by Hala and her colleagues, they examined source monitoring in children with autism. The participants in this study were separated into two groups of 13: children without a developmental disorder and children with autism. The children were tasked to recognize words they had heard on the test tape, which were referred to as “old words”, and discriminate them from new “distractor words”. The children were then asked to recall whether the words they identified as “old” had been spoken by themselves or by the other person. In the first task, the autistic children displayed equal performance to the children without a disorder. This correlates to results from previous studies that have found that people with autism have unimpaired recognition for previously recalled words. In the first task, the children with autism and children without a development disorder had a higher performance compared to the children with mental delay. In the second task that tested reality monitoring, they found that there were no differences amongst the three groups. During the task, verbal and pointing responses were required. The children’s verbal responses to who had said a certain word always corresponded to their pointing response. AUTISM SM STUDIESIn contrast to the common belief that older children can remember the sources of their memories better than younger ones, there are studies showing that this concern arises in the context of them trying to differentiate between things they actually did and those they imagined to have done. This involves Reality Monitoring, the process through which children evaluate their own thoughts and memories to determine whether those are based upon reality(actual events) or imaginations and its successful use requires engaging the long-term memory to revisit source information.CHILDREN W/ RMIn a study conducted by Farrant and her colleagues, they examined reality monitoring in children with autism. The aim of the study was to make a more direct test of source monitoring by comparing the reality monitoring of a group of children with autism. They expected that the performance of the children with autism would be poorer than that of the children without the disorder.The study used autistic children with a mean mental age of 7 years 8 months. The participants were three groups of 15 children: children with autism, children with mild mental delay, and children who do not have a developmental disorder. The children with autism attended special schools and all been diagnosed with autism. In the experiment, the children said several words and listened to another person say similar words. After they were given a surprise memory test and were asked to identify the words they had said and the words the other person had said. The results of the children with autism were compared with the other two groups of normal children and children with mental delay. They found that there were no differences between the groups and, pertaining to this task, there was no evidence that autistic children lack reality monitoring abilities. AUTISM RM STUDIESThe experiments by Hala and Farrant confirmed that children with autism were able to effectively perform source and reality monitoring tasks. Since source monitoring and executive function are strongly associated, the executive dysfunction of autism would foresee a deficit also in source monitoring. Research has also found that compared to matched controls, high functioning autistic adolescents made more intrusive errors, showing difficulty with identifying the source.However, there are some adjustments that can be made to these studies. In this experiment, the participants were mostly boys, with only one or two girls in each group. This study should have had an equal separation of males and females. This did not maintain a gender balance amongst the two groups. Although it is understandable considering that autism is found in higher amounts in males. It is stated that this study was conducted in a Canadian City. It would be beneficial to also conduct this research in several other locations, especially in the U.S. The sample size of this study was considerably small, only consisting of 26 participants total. Another limitation of this study is that the data is only included for the reality and external conditions and three of the children with autism did not complete the internal condition.In Farrant’s experiment, the participants were three groups of 15 children. Like Hala’s study, the sample size was not big enough. A larger sample size provides more accurate data for researchers to work with. Increasing the sample size will also lower the risk of misleading statistics. Once again, the children that were tested were mostly male. LIMITATIONS, DIFFERENT CONDUCT RESEARCH, CRITIQUESAutism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability, usually appearing during childhood, that affects a person’s ability to effectively communicate and interact with others.  It is essential to recognize that Children with autism tested relatively well on reality monitoring tasks. Although older participants were reported to have an impaired performance on source tasks. Source monitoring impairment did not prove that poorer performance by autistic children emulated a more general impairment in working memory.There was no difference in recognition performance between groups for any of the conditions (autistic, mental delay and no disorder). These findings are consistent with other research that finds intact memory function on simple recall and recognition tasks amongst autistic children.  CONCLUSION

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