COMMENTARY

New Theories of Autism: Hyper-Systemizing and Assortative Mating

Simon Baron-Cohen, PhD, MPhil

Disclosures

December 29, 2005

In This Article

Introduction

The autistic spectrum comprises 4 subgroups: Asperger syndrome (AS)[1,2,3] and high-, medium-, and low- functioning autism.[4] These subgroups all share the phenotype of social difficulties and obsessional interests.[5] In AS, the individual demonstrates normal or above-average IQ and no language delay. In the 3 autism subgroups, invariably some degree of language delay exists, and the level of functioning is indexed by overall IQ. These 4 subgroups are known as autism spectrum conditions (ASC).

Expert consensus maintains that ASC are genetic in etiology,[6] and altered brain development[7,8,9,10] in turn affects social and communication development and leads to unusual narrow interests and extreme repetitive behavior.[5] The model we can use involves multiple levels (Figure). This column elaborates on the 2 new ideas: hyper-systemizing and assortative mating (shown in bold in the model).

Multi-level model of autism spectrum conditions.

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE
Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as:

processing....