Title: Autism, hypersystemizing, and truth
Author: Simon Baron-Cohen
Source: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,61,1,2008.

Simon Baron-Cohen is a UK based researcher and likely one of the most prolific and influential autism researchers of all time. Although controversial at times, he has proposed a number of novel ideas about the nature of autism. In this interesting article, Dr. Baron-Cohen talks about the Hypersystemizing Theory of Autism. This is the basic principle: People, specially males, have a natural, intrinsic need to systematize. That is, to find patterns and order that allows for the prediction of change. Thus a need for structure, routines, predictability. Baron-Cohen argues that people with autism have an overdeveloped need to systematize: they hypersystematize. It is impossible to give justice to his theory by summarizing it in this short paragraph, so instead I will simply mention two interesting topics he discusses. First, the author makes a distinction between “systematize”, a need particular strong in males, and “Empathizing”, the “the drive to identify another person’s emotions and thoughts and to respond to these with an appropriate emotion”, which is as you expected, more prevalent amongst females. The idea that children with autism have an overactive need to systematize is consistent with the fact that there is a disproportionally higher number of boys than girls with autism, and with Baron-Cohen’s own views that Autism is intrinsically linked with gender. That is, that the roots of the disorder are found within the many gender differences between males and females. Another point refers to the common observation that children with autism have difficulty lying and have a drive to find the “Truth”. Baron-Cohen views “truth” as a predictable pattern, something that leads to predictability and order, which satisfies a need for systematize.

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