Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is Director, Autism Research Centre (ARC) in Cambridge (www.autismresearchcentre.com). He has degrees in Human Sciences from New College, Oxford, a PhD in Psychology from UCL, and an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. He held lectureships in these departments before moving to Cambridge in 1994. He is author of Mindblindness (1995), The Essential Difference (2003), Prenatal Testosterone in Mind (2005), and Zero Degrees of Empathy (2011). He has edited scholarly anthologies including Understanding Other Minds (1993, 2000, 2013), Synaesthesia (1997) and The Maladapted Mind (1997). He has written books for parents and teachers including Autism and Asperger Syndrome: The Facts (2008), and Teaching Children with Autism to Mindread (1999). He has celebrated autism in An Exact Mind (2004). He is author of the DVDs Mind Reading and The Transporters, to help children with autism learn emotion recognition, both nominated for BAFTA awards. He is author of >400 scientific articles.

Research contributions: 1985: The ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) hypothesis of autism; 1989: Joint-attention recognized as a key developmental precursor to ToM; 1992: Lowering the age of diagnosis of autism to 18 months old in ‘baby sibs’ using the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT); 1994: The orbito-frontal cortex (OFC) theory of the brain basis of ToM in autism; 1996: Population study of the CHAT; 1997: The extreme male brain (EMB) theory of autism; 1997: Autism linked to parents or siblings who are high ‘systemizers’; 1997: The ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ Test; 1998: Superior attention to detail in autism demonstrated; 1999: The amygdala theory of the brain basis of ToM in autism; 1999: Reliability of early diagnosis of autism established; 2000: Establishment of the Cambridge Lifespan Asperger Syndrome Service (CLASS); 2000: Neonatal sex differences in social interest; 2001: Dimensionalizing autistic traits on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ); 2001: Linking mathematical talent to AQ; 2002: The prenatal testosterone theory of autism; 2002: The ‘empathizing-systemizing (E-S)’ theory of sex differences; 2002: Linking foetal testosterone (FT) to eye-contact and vocabulary development; 2002: The ‘extreme male brain’ (EMB) theory of autism; 2003: 2003: The Empathy Quotient (EQ) and Systemizing Quotient (SQ); 2005: Linking FT to social development and narrow interests; 2006: Linking FT to empathy and systemizing; 2008: Linking FT to autistic traits; 2009: Candidate genes for Asperger Syndrome, empathy and autistic traits; 2010: Elevated autistic traits linked to parents of children with autism; 2011: Development of ‘red flags’ for autism (short AQs); 2012: Linking FT to regional gray matter volume and functional activity in the typical brain. 2013: Opening of the Chitra Sethia Autism Centre, Cambridgeshire; Identifying synaesthesia is more common in autism; Identifying females with autism have masculinized brain structure. 2014: Linking FT to autism; Confirming GABRB3 as a key gene in autism; First meta-analysis of typical sex differences in brain structure; Identifying suicidality risk in adults with Asperger Syndrome; Identifying a neural signature for delayed language onset in the adult brain in autism spectrum conditions; Big-data demonstration of a shift towards hyper-masculinization in autism on E-S dimensions; Identifying steroidopathy in females with autism.

He has supervised 25 PhD students. He has received awards from the British Psychological Society (BPS) (Spearman Medal, 1990); the American Psychological Association (McCandless Award, 1990); the BPS (May Davison Award, 1993); the Autism Award Philadelphia Autism Association/Princeton University (2004); the Presidents’ Award (BPS, 2006); BAFTA Award: Nominations, (2002, 2007), the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA), Joseph Lister Lecturer, 1998; and the Lifetime Achievement Award, MENSA (2011); and Kanner-Asperger Medal (2013, German Society for Research into Autism/ Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Autismus-Spektrum (WGAS), Bonn). He is a Fellow of the BPS, the British Academy, and the American Psychological Association. He is Vice-President of the National Autistic Society, Autism Anglia, and was President, Psychology Section of the British Association (2007) and Vice-President, International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) (2009). He is an Andrew D White Professor-At-Large, Cornell University, and received Doctor of Science degrees from Roehampton University and Abertay University. He was Chair of the NICE Guideline Development Group for Autism (Adults), is Scientific Advisor or Patron to 6 autism charities, and a member of the Department of Health Program Board, Autism Strategy. He is co-editor in chief of the journal Molecular Autism.

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