Episodic memory is a neurocognitive (brain/mind) function that enables us to recall past experiences and involves both semantic and emotional memory. One of the main functions of episodic memory is to integrate information from all of the body's senses to give us the ability to reflect back on emotional interactions and evaluate how to act in a present-day situation that resonates in some way or another. In short; episodic memory is used to inform present-day decision-making to work toward future goals.
(Semantic memory = general world-knowledge we have acquired over the years and emotional memory = recollection of the manner in which a specific event in the past has made us feel)
DISNEY BRINGS IT TO LIFE!
Inside Out Describes Episodic Memory
With ASD, Episodic Memory or (Core Memories depicted in "Inside Out") development is lacking.
Ever wonder why kids with ASD struggle with generalization, motivation, recalling a previous experience or having a strong sense of self? They may have difficulty encoding personally meaningful memories from situations that happen in everyday life. Moreover, they have more difficulty retrieving that previous experience and relating to a present experience to say, "oh, I have been here before! I know how to respond!"
Inside Out's main character needs her core memories to manage stressful situation and recall how she handled it.
It is really important that your child's therapy approach includes this critical element of learning!
Watch This Clip
Being able to reflect on prior experiences and make decisions to move us forward is part of what gives us a sense of self. Thus, being able to draw upon our episodic memory is imperative to being intrinsically motivated to try new things and move our lives in an altogether new and different direction.
Same = Safe
Individuals on the autism spectrum rarely form episodic memories and tend to maintain participation in more static systems that give them a sense of security and control.
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