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2014 Mind-reading as a gatekeeper in development: neurotypical and autistic pathways to learning

Mind-reading as a gatekeeper in development: Neurotypical and autistic pathways to learning

Professor Francesca Happé FBA

Tuesday 23 September 2014, 6 - 7.15pm
The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

A video of the lecture is available on the British Academy website.

For further information see the British Academy website or email the British Academy press office. You can also telephone them on 020 7969 5246.

About the lecture...

Typically-developing children show a precocious ability to track what others are thinking, referred to as ‘theory of mind’ or ‘mentalising’. Children with autism, by contrast, struggle with this intuitive mind-reading. Mind-blindness may explain social and communication difficulties in autism; why lying doesn’t come naturally, and jokes and irony are taken literally. This talk will explore the downstream or developmental effects of mentalizing, which I will argue is a gatekeeper function that opens doors in typical development. Obligatory mentalising in typical development and mindblindness in autism lead to very different learning environments, arguably each having both positive and negative aspects.

About the speaker...

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of the MRC SGDP Centre, King's College London, Francesca Happé’s research focuses on autism spectrum conditions. She has explored the nature of social understanding in a/typical development and non-social assets in autism. She has received the BPS Spearman Medal, the EPS Prize and the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award. She is President of the International Society for Autism Research.