The Extreme Male Brain Theory of Autism and the Potential Adverse Effects for Boys and Girls with Autism

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 9 (1):93-103 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Autism, typically described as a spectrum neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in verbal ability and social reciprocity as well as obsessive or repetitious behaviours, is currently thought to markedly affect more males than females. Not surprisingly, this encourages a gendered understanding of the Autism Spectrum. Simon Baron-Cohen, a prominent authority in the field of autism research, characterizes the male brain type as biased toward systemizing. In contrast, the female brain type is understood to be biased toward empathizing. Since persons with autism are characterized as hyper-systemizers and hypo-empathizers, Baron-Cohen suggests that, whether they are male or female, most possess an “extreme male brain profile.” We argue that Baron-Cohen is misled by an unpersuasive gendering of certain capacities or aptitudes in the human population. Moreover, we suggest that this may inadvertently favour boys in diagnosing children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. If this is correct, it could also have rather serious consequences for treatment and services for girls (and women) on the Autism Spectrum

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,391

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Autism and the Extreme Male Brain.Ruth Sample - 2013 - In Jami L. Anderson Simon Cushing (ed.), The Philosophy of Autism. Rowman & Littlefield.
Autism: Mind and Brain.Uta Frith & Elisabeth L. Hill (eds.) - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Autism and Talent.Francesca Happé & Uta Frith (eds.) - 2010 - Oup/the Royal Society.
Explaining Impaired Play in Autism.Somogy Varga - 2010 - Journal für Philosophie Und Psychiatrie 3 (1):1-13.
Should we welcome a cure for autism? A survey of the arguments.R. Eric Barnes & Helen McCabe - 2012 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 15 (3):255-269.

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-01-07

Downloads
119 (#106,723)

6 months
2 (#300,121)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?