Food and Behaviour Research

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The extreme male brain theory of autism

Baron-Cohen S. (2002) Trends Cogn Sci. 6 248-254 

Web URL: Read more and find related articles on the pubmed website here


 The key mental domains in which sex differences have traditionally been studied are verbal and spatial abilities. In this article I suggest that two neglected dimensions for understanding human sex differences are 'empathising' and 'systemising'. The male brain is a defined psychometrically as those individuals in whom systemising is significantly better than empathising, and the female brain is defined as the opposite cognitive profile. Using these definitions, autism can be considered as an extreme of the normal male profile. There is increasing psychological evidence for theextreme male brain theory of autism.


Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme on autism here: 28 June 2014 - BBC Radio 4 - Steep Rise in Autism

For more recent developments in autism research see: Lyall et al 2014 - Parental Social Responsiveness and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Offspring