This month's episode of Brain Science features Sir Simon Baron-Cohen, one of the world's leading researchers on the neuroscience of autism. We discuss his latest book "The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Human Invention." This book reminds us that many different kinds of science can enrich our lives and our understanding of what it means to be human.Sir Baron-Cohen explores the overlap between the human ability to invent and experiment and the condition that is currently called autism. Autism is often seen as a deficit in social cognition or empathy, but Baron-Cohen shows convincingly that there is a significant overlap between autism and what he calls extreme systemizing. Because systemizing or pattern recognition drives the human ability to constantly invent new technologies, it appears to compliment social skills such as empathy. Sir Baron-Cohen share the evidence that people tend to be stronger in one area or the other. Most importantly, he emphasizes that autism is not necessarily a disabling condition because those with extremely strong pattern recognition skills can make many valuable contributions.
Links and References:
Greenberg DM, Warrier V, Allison C, Baron-Cohen S. Testing the Empathizing-Systemizing theory of sex differences and the Extreme Male Brain theory of autism in half a million people. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Nov 27;115(48):12152-12157. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1811032115. Epub 2018 Nov 12. PMID: 30420503; PMCID: PMC6275492.
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