Who am i meant to be? In search of a psychological account of autism, from the viewpoint of an ‘insider’



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The Navon test

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H H

H H

H H

H H H H H

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H H

Critique

  • Mottron et al. (1999), Baron-Cohen (2008), Lawson (2010) - autistic people are able to process the ‘whole picture’. Autistic people are able to process the larger letter, yet have a tendency to be drawn to the smaller.
  • Lawson (2010) – this is particularly the case when that which is being processed is within an autistic person’s attention and interest system.

Empathising-systemising (E-S) theory

  • Baron-Cohen (2008) argued that alongside ‘delays and deficits’ in empathy, the strengths found amongst autistic people could be explained by an intact or even superior skill in ‘systemising’.
  • Refers to the drive to analyse and construct ‘systems’.
  • Reinterprets autistic traits as a result of intelligent behaviour rather than with reference to a damaged cognitive system.
  • Regarded as a ‘cognitive style’ - highly purposeful in discovering the ultimate understanding of how a system operates.
  • The E-S theory of autism has also been extended to the ‘extreme male brain’ theory of autism (Baron-Cohen, 2008).



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