A Cognitive Neuroscientist, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen was born on August 15, 1958. He is a professor of Developmental Psychopathology at Cambridge University, United Kingdom in the departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry. Dr. Simon is also the Director of the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Center and a Fellow of Trinity College. His exceptional work on autism has gained him much recognition. He is also best known for his theory, according to which, autism involved degrees of mind blindness. In other words, delayed development of theory of mind. In another famous theory, Cohen states that autism is an extreme form of the male brain.
Highly educated in his field of study, Baron-Cohen received a BA degree in Human Sciences from New College, Oxford. He also holds an MPhil in Clinical Psychology from the Institute of Psychiatry from King’s College, London. Baron-Cohen earned his PhD in Psychology from the University College London under the supervision of Uta Frith.
Simon Baron-Cohen has conducted a number of extensive research projects. He co-authored the first study showing that children with autism experience delays in the development of a theory of mind (1985). His research over the next 10 years provided plenty of evidence for the Theory of Mind deficit. Based on more findings, Baron-Cohen proposed a model of the development of mindreading. His work also includes conducting brain imaging to examine the autistic brain. His 1990s hypothesis claimed that typical sex differences may provide a neurobiological and psychological understanding
of autism proposing the autism is an extreme form of the male brain. He believes that autism may be a result of hyper-masculinization. Baron-Cohen’s book, The Essential Difference (2003) explains gender differences and its relationship to autism. In late 1990s, Baron-Cohen launched the Cambridge Longitudinal Foetal Testosterone, a research program for children of mothers who had amniocentesis. Baron-Cohen also created software for the special education of children with autism. The software is used to teach autistic children to learn and understand emotions. Synasthesia is another research area Baron-Cohen is linked with. Synathesia is a neurological condition in which a sensation in one modality triggers a perception in another modality. Baron-Cohen and his colleagues are the first ones to prove the existence of synathesia using neuroimaging. In addition to this, Simon Baron-Cohen holds position as the co-editor in chief of the journal, Molecular Autism. He is also Chairman of the NICE Guideline Development Group for adults with autism.
Baron-Cohen has been recognized for his contributions to psychology through many prestigious awards including the Spearman Medal from the British Psychological Society (BPS), the McAndless Award from the American Psychological Association, and the May Davison Award for Clinical Psychology from the BPS, and the President’s Award from the BPS.