This chapter begins with a brief description of the history of thought and research on autism. The first section shows that a lack of precise understanding of social behavioral development impeded the accurate diagnosis of autism until the early 1990s. The second section illustrates how social developmental research continues to be a vital source of information about the nature of autism. Indeed, research on autism has led to insights about the precise nature of joint attention development in infants that have contributed to the framework for a new model of human social-cognition development. This model adopts a parallel and distributed information processing perspective on joint attention and social cognition. An advantage of this model is that it explicitly attempts to link developmental behavioral research on social pathology to a range of recent observations from research on neural connectivity, genetics, intervention, and ocular motor control in autism.
Chapter. 19424 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ; Neurology ; Neuroscience
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