Chapter

Educational cognitive neuroscience: designing autism-friendly methods to teach emotion recognition

Simon Baron-Cohen, Ofer Golan and Emma Ashwin

in Neuroscience in Education

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600496
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739187 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600496.003.0092
Educational cognitive neuroscience: designing autism-friendly methods to teach emotion recognition

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Children and adults with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) have difficulties with empathy, but have intact or even above average development of ‘systemizing’, that is, the drive to analyse or build a system. This chapter reviews the evidence for both the empathy deficits and the systemizing strengths, and present two examples of educational software designed to help people with ASC improve in empathy by playing to their strengths in systemizing. These are the Mind Reading and The Transporters DVDs, respectively. Treatment trials of both are summarized which confirm that even after relatively short-term intervention with these programmes, improvements in empathy (specifically the cognitive element of emotion recognition) are seen. The chapter concludes that if interventions use the knowledge from cognitive neuroscience to design autism-friendly formats for teaching, then even complex aspects of social cognition can be improved.

Keywords: autism spectrum conditions; empathy deficits; systemizing empathy; cognitive neuroscience; teaching

Chapter.  6283 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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