This article reports on research that sheds new light on memory function in people with autism and how that can affect socialization. Some excerpts:
"First, the children with autism, compared to the matched controls, had poorer memory for complex information (many individual elements or one complicated element) in both word and picture form. In essence, the children with autism found it hard to remember information if they needed a cognitive organising strategy to aid recall or if they had to detect such an organising element in the information itself.
The authors speculate that people with autism "don't have the automatic cross talk between brain systems - the reasoning and the memory systems - that tells their brain what is most important to notice or how to organise it thematically."
...Second, children with autism also had poor working memory for spatial information, or remembering over time where something was located once it was out of sight...
...Despite these two impairments, the children with autism did not have global memory problems. They showed good associative learning ability, verbal working memory and recognition memory. ..
...Let us say some teenagers see a poster for a new movie about a small-town romance. They talk about going to the movie and joke about the love story. One boy, though, interrupts with how great it will be to see a football film. Hearing this seeming non sequitur, the other kids stop talking. The boy, who has autism, does not understand why they are not interested in what he is saying. He was responding to what he saw - not the larger-than-life stars embracing, but the small background detail of a man in a football jersey. "