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2. What Causes Autism?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the causes of autism and how these have been understood historically and in the present day. We begin by discussing historical perspectives which associated the development of autism in children with a lack of maternal affection, focusing in particular on Bruno Bettelheim’s concept of the ‘refrigerator mother’. We then discuss how this view has been superseded in more recent research by the proposition that genetics play a crucial role in whether or not a child will develop the condition. Finally, we consider the fact that individuals with autism frequently have a restricted diet, noting that this is not a cause but rather an effect of the condition.
In this course, Professor Peter Mitchell (University of Nottingham), discusses the condition of autism. We begin, in module one, by asking what autism is before moving on, in module two, to examine the causes of this condition. Module three looks at the question ‘Can autism be cured?’, while module four examines whether autism is an affective or a cognitive condition. In module five, we think about different cognitive theories of autism. Finally, in module six, we take a closer look at a specific cognitive theory of autism, known as the theory of ‘weak central coherence’.
Peter Mitchell gained a BA (Hons) in Psychology and a PhD in Psychology at the University of Liverpool, UK. After that, he spent three years working as a postdoctoral scientist at Birmingham University. He is now serving as Professor and Director of Studies in Psychology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. Previously, he was Head of the School of Psychology in Nottingham UK. He has published around 100 scientific articles in leading international journals, has published six books and he is editor of the British Journal of Psychology. He has served as Chair of the Developmental Section of the British Psychological Society and as Chief Examiner for the Economic and Social Research Council UK PhD studentship competition. Before joining Nottingham University he worked at the University of Birmingham, University of Oxford, University of Wales and University of Warwick. He also served as visiting professor at McGill University in Canada.
Cite this Lecture
Mitchell, P. (2020, February 20). Autism - What Causes Autism? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/autism/what-causes-autism
Mitchell, Peter. "Autism – What Causes Autism?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Feb 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/autism/what-causes-autism