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Conscious Cogn. 2011 Mar;20(1):130-40. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2010.09.006. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

The role of the self in mindblindness in autism.

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  • 1Autism Research Centre, Douglas House, 18B Trumpington Rd., Cambridge CB2 8AH, UK.


Since its inception the 'mindblindness' theory of autism has greatly furthered our understanding of the core social-communication impairments in autism spectrum conditions (ASC). However, one of the more subtle issues within the theory that needs to be elaborated is the role of the 'self'. In this article, we expand on mindblindness in ASC by addressing topics related to the self and its central role in the social world and then review recent research in ASC that has yielded important insights by contrasting processes relating to both self and other. We suggest that new discoveries lie ahead in understanding how self and other are interrelated and/or distinct, and how understanding atypical self-referential and social-cognitive mechanisms may lead to novel ideas as to how to facilitate social-communicative abilities in ASC.

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