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Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2012;65(11):2073-92. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2012.697178. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Why we need cognitive explanations of autism.

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UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, UK.


In the 70 years since autism was described and named there have been huge changes in the conceptualization of this enigmatic condition. This review takes a personal perspective on the history of autism research. The origins of the first cognitive theories of autism, theory of mind and weak central coherence, are discussed and updated to inform future developments. Selected experimental findings are interpreted in the historical context of changes that have been brought about by advances in methodology. A three-level framework graphically illustrates a causal chain between brain, mind, and behaviour to facilitate the identification of phenotypes in neurodevelopmental disorders. Cognition is placed at the centre of the diagram to reveal that it can link together brain and behaviour, when there are complex multiple mappings between the different levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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