Simon Baron-Cohen bigraphy, stories - Psychologists

Simon Baron-Cohen : biography

15 August 1958 -

Simon Baron-Cohen FBA (born 15 August 1958) is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He is the Director of the University's Autism Research Centre, and a Fellow of Trinity College. Retrieved on 2008-02-16 He is best known for his work on autism, including his early theory that autism involves degrees of "mindblindness" (or delays in the development of theory of mind); and his later theory that autism is an extreme form of the "male brain", which involved a re-conceptualisation of typical psychological sex differences in terms of empathizing–systemizing theory.

Personal life and awards

Baron-Cohen was awarded the Spearman Medal from the British Psychological Society (BPS), the McAndless Award from the American Psychological Association, the May Davison Award for Clinical Psychology from the BPS, and the Presidents Award from the BPS. He was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science Section for Psychology in 2007, and was Vice President of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) for 2009-11. He is also a Vice President of the National Autistic Society (UK). He is a Fellow of the BPS, the BA, and the Association of Psychological Science. He was awarded the Kanner-Asperger Medal in 2013 by the WGAS (Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Autismus Spektrum) as a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to autism research internationally.

Baron-Cohen is the son of Judith and Vivian Baron-Cohen. He is married to Bridget Lindley and together they have three children: independent film maker Sam Baron, Robin Lindley-Baron, and songwriter Kate Baron. His brothers are film director Ash Baron Cohen and Dan Baron Cohen (International Drama and Education Association). His sisters are Suzannah Baron Cohen and acupuncturist Aliza Baron Cohen. His cousins include computer scientist Amnon Baron Cohen, composer and musician Erran Baron Cohen, comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen, composer Lewis Furey, film producer Daniel Louis, playwright Richard Greenblatt, University of Washington chemistry professor Seymour Rabinovitch, University of Montana Japanese professor Judith Rabinovitch, and film-director Mark Robson.

Research areas

Baron-Cohen was lead author of the first study to show that children with autism have delays in the development of a theory of mind (ToM) (Cognition, 1985).

Baron-Cohen’s research over the subsequent 10 years provided much of the evidence for the ToM deficit, culminating in two edited anthologies (Understanding Other Minds, 1993, and 2000). His research group linked the origins of the ToM deficit to joint attention (Brit J. Dev Psychol, 1987) and showed that absence of joint attention at 18 months is a predictor of later autism (British Journal of Psychiatry, 1992, 1996). University of Washington. Retrieved on 2008-02-16. Based on these and other findings, he proposed a model of the development of ‘mindreading’ in his widely cited monograph (Mindblindness, 1995 MIT Press). Baron-Cohen has also conducted brain imaging work examining the autistic brain. These studies highlighted differences between the typical and autistic brain in the orbitofrontal cortex (Brit. J. Psychiatry, 1994) PMID 7866679 and the amygdala (Euro. J. Neuroscience, 1999), the latter leading him to propose the amygdala theory of autism (Neurosci. Behav. Rev. 2000). In 2010, with his former doctoral student Michael Lombardo, they showed that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (a region critical to self-understanding and taking others' perspectivesAmes, D.L., Jenkins, A.J., Banaji, M.R., & Mitchell, J.P. (2008). Taking another person's perspective increases self-referential neural processing. Psychological Science. 19(7), 642-624. does not differentiate self from other in autism and accounts for variation in social deficits. In 2011, with Lombardo, they also showed that the right temporoparietal junction was hypoactive in autism during ToM tasks.

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Living octopus

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