Psychology
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Psychology

Melanie Ring

PhD student

Department of Psychology

Autism Research Group

E: Melanie.Ring.1@city.ac.uk

Thesis title: Relational memory processes in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Supervisors: Professor Dermot Bowler and Dr Sebastian Gaigg

Overview and research interests

Melanie's PhD research involves investigating the theory of relational binding in memory in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This theory suggests that individuals with ASD have difficulties binding together different parts of an episode to support flexible retrieval in memory.

To test this theory Melanie is using different behavioural paradigms supported by measurements of eye-movements and EEG (Electroencephalogram) to study the brain basis of potential memory differences in ASD.

In her research so far she has found that when individuals with ASD are tested with an object-location-memory task they show difficulties in explicit but intact implicit memory when tested for object-location-bindings while their memory for objects and locations per se remains intact compared to a matched group of control individuals (TD). Part of this memory difference could be related to differential attention processes. Additionally it is possible that individuals with ASD employ different strategies that potentially rely on different brain mechanisms which is suggested by differential fixation patterns compared to the TD group.

In another study she finds that when adults with ASD are tested with a structural learning paradigm they learn but at a lower accuracy level compared to a matched group of TD individuals. This study also suggests that adults with ASD seem to over-bind to a certain context. Individuals with ASD have studied a series of structural patterns. In a test phase these patterns were repaired, meaning that patterns were presented together that never had been studied together. Individuals with ASD showed better performance on the repaired compared to familiar pictures, which seems to indicate that what they learned in the second context had overwritten what they learned in the first context.

Research interests

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Spatial memory
  • Spatial navigation

Melanie has a Masters in Psychology from theTechnische Universität Dresden, Germany (2011).

Publications

  • Ring, M., Gaigg, S. B. and Bowler, D. M. (2013). Object location memory in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Developmental trajectories and cross-syndrome comparisons: issues and future directions, Seminar 2 of the Neurodevelopmental Seminar Series, Institute of Education, London, UK
  • Einsle, F., Ring, M., Weinberger, E., Dannemann, S. and Joraschky, P. (2010). Was beeinflusst die Rückkehr in die Arbeit nach AICD- Implantation? Ergebnisse einer retrospektiven Befragung. (What factors influence reemployment after AICD- implantation? Results from a retrospective survey). Gemeinsamer Kongress der DKPM und der DGPM. Berlin, Germany

Teaching

Teaching assistant on PS 1006 - Lifespan psychology, City University London, 2011/2012 and 2012/2013

Teaching assistant on module PS 1002 - Professional and academic development for psychologists, City University London, 2011