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Deeper processing is beneficial during episodic memory encoding for adults with Williams syndrome

Greer, J.; Hamilton, C.; Riby, D.M.; Riby, L.M.

Deeper processing is beneficial during episodic memory encoding for adults with Williams syndrome Thumbnail


J. Greer

C. Hamilton


Previous research exploring declarative memory in Williams syndrome (WS) has revealed impairment in the processing of episodic information accompanied by a relative strength in semantic ability. The aim of the current study was to extend this literature by examining how relatively spared semantic memory may support episodic remembering. Using a level of processing paradigm, older adults with WS (aged 35–61 years) were compared to typical adults of the same chronological age and typically developing children matched for verbal ability. In the study phase, pictures were encoded using either a deep (decide if a picture belongs to a particular category) or shallow (perceptual based processing) memory strategy. Behavioural indices (reaction time and accuracy) at retrieval were suggestive of an overall difficulty in episodic memory for WS adults. Interestingly, however, semantic support was evident with a greater recall of items encoded with deep compared to shallow processing, indicative of an ability to employ semantic encoding strategies to maximise the strength of the memory trace created. Unlike individuals with autism who find semantic elaboration strategies problematic, the pattern of findings reported here suggests in those domains that are relatively impaired in WS, support can be recruited from relatively spared cognitive processes.


Greer, J., Hamilton, C., Riby, D., & Riby, L. (2014). Deeper processing is beneficial during episodic memory encoding for adults with Williams syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(7), 1720-1726.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 6, 2014
Online Publication Date Mar 26, 2014
Publication Date Jul 1, 2014
Deposit Date Sep 17, 2014
Publicly Available Date Dec 16, 2014
Journal Research in Developmental Disabilities
Print ISSN 0891-4222
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 7
Pages 1720-1726
Keywords Williams Syndrome, Ageing, Cognition, Episodic memory, Semantic memory, Depths of processing, Encoding.


Accepted Journal Article (463 Kb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Research in Developmental Disabilities. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35, 7, July 2014, 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.03.004.

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