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It has been said that people with autism suffer from a lack of " central coherence, " the cognitive ability to bind together a jumble of separate features into a single, coherent object or concept (Frith, 1989). Ironically, the same can be said of the field of au-tism research, which all too often seems a fragmented tapestry stitched from differing(More)
The broad variation in phenotypes and severities within autism spectrum disorders suggests the involvement of multiple predisposing factors, interacting in complex ways with normal developmental courses and gradients. Identification of these factors, and the common developmental path into which they feed, is hampered by the large degrees of convergence from(More)
Autism, an entirely behavioral diagnosis with no largely understood etiologies and no population-wide biomarkers, contrasts with fragile X syndrome (FXS), a single-gene disorder with definite alterations of gene expression and neuronal morphology. Nevertheless, the behavioral overlap between autism and FXS suggests some overlapping mechanisms. Understanding(More)
Autism involves impairments in communication and social interaction, as well as high levels of repetitive, stereotypic, and ritualistic behaviours, and extreme resistance to change. This latter dimension, whilst required for a diagnosis, has received less research attention. We hypothesise that this extreme resistance to change in autism is rooted in(More)
BACKGROUND In addition to their more clinically evident abnormalities of social cognition, people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) manifest perturbations of attention and sensory perception which may offer insights into the underlying neural abnormalities. Similar autistic traits in ASC relatives without a diagnosis suggest a continuity between(More)
Although communication and social difficulties in autism have received a great deal of research attention, the other key diagnostic feature, extreme repetitive behaviour and unusual narrow interests, has been addressed less often. Also known as 'resistance to change' this may be related to atypical processing of infrequent, novel stimuli. This can be tested(More)
I n a previous In FOCUS column, Kimball and Smith (2007) nicely articulated the benefits and challenges of creating computer technology to support individuals with autism. They also provided a well-devised three-point plan to stimulate and support progress in technology development for this population. As a follow-up to their column, the current offering(More)
Empathizing is the capacity to predict and to respond to the behavior of agents (usually people) by inferring their mental states and responding to these with an appropriate emotion. Systemizing is the capacity to predict and to respond to the behavior of nonagentive deterministic systems by analyzing input-operation-output relations and inferring the rules(More)
Although the neurobiological understanding of autism has been increasing exponentially, the diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions still rests entirely on behavioral criteria. Autism is therefore most productively approached using a combination of biological and psychological theory. The triad of behavioral abnormalities in social function, communication,(More)
In autism, physiological indices of selective attention have been shown to be abnormal even in situations where behaviour is intact. This divergence between behaviour and physiology suggests the action of some compensatory process of attention, one which may hold clues to the aetiology of autism's characteristic cognitive phenotype. Six subjects with autism(More)