Simon Baron-Cohen || How Autism Drives Human Invention


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By Scott Barry Kaufman. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Today it’s great to chat with Simon Baron-Cohen. Simon is professor of psychology and psychiatry and director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University. He is the author of six hundred scientific articles and four books, including The Science of Evil and The Essential Difference.

[2:47] Simon’s evolution of thought on autism

[5:19] How the social realm of autism has evolved

[8:12] The difference between autism and psychopathy

[10:26] The role of affective vs cognitive empathy

[12:37] How to navigate autism amidst cancel culture

[14:18] Having autistic traits vs being on the autism spectrum

[17:52] How autism drives human invention

[22:11] The “systemizing mechanism” of the brain

[24:03] The role of “if-and-then patterns” in autistic individuals

[26:41] Simon’s thoughts on language acquisition

[27:48] “The empathy circuit”

[37:28] The role of creativity in autism

[41:19] The Brain Types Study

[42:43] The biological basis of creativity and autism

[45:24] Why monkeys don’t skateboard

[48:12] Why language isn’t a necessary precursor to invention

[55:12] How Scott measured implicit learning and pattern-seeking

[59:28] Why Simon’s work has sparked some pushback

[1:01:04] How to support autistic people

[1:05:45] How we can nurture the inventors of the future

[1:07:18] Sex differences in autism

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