The pattern seekers : how autism drove human invention / Simon Baron-Cohen.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "In The Pattern Seekers, Simon Baron-Cohen reveals the surprising answer to two apparently distinct questions: Why are humans so inventive? And why does autism exist? The first question hangs over almost every human endeavor: Business people want to know how to innovate. Cognitive psychologists want to understand the nature of creativity. Evolutionary scientists and comparative psychologists want to understand why we are capable of such cultural complexity and diversity, when other animals, at best, have learned how to use a rock as a simple tool. At the same time, the study of autism has become a preeminent concern among overlapping groups, from educators to scientists to business people and parents -- and of course to people with autism themselves. In The Pattern Seekers, Simon Baron-Cohen argues these two questions are actually the same: understanding autism -- specifically the fixation on patterns that is considered characteristic of the condition -- is the key to understanding both the ancient origins and the modern flowering of human creativity. With a perspective that spans the first stirrings of our ancestors on the African Savannah to the corridors of high-tech companies, Baron-Cohen shows how what he calls systemizing underlies everything from the invention of the first musical instrument to the innovative output of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Bolstering his argument with a range of fascinating case studies-including the way Kobe Bryant plays basketball and the piano, the prevalence of autism in various Dutch cities, and how chimpanzees learned to use grass to catch termites -- he describes how a passion for pattern-finding is at the heart of modern science and technology. But such powers come at a cost: The better one is at it, the less empathy one has for others, making social functioning difficult. And although it might be fashionable in some circles to talk about being "on the spectrum," many seek a cure for autism, and the world still struggles to accept and accommodate the autistic. So, even as Baron-Cohen seeks to understand what autism "is for," he seeks to change the way our society thinks about and behaves toward autistic people. As Baron-Cohen puts it, the critical role of autistic traits in our species' past means it's not simply time to tolerate autism or celebrate neurodiversity, but that it's time to show autistic people the highest respect. The Pattern Seekers is the rarest of books: mission-driven psychology combined with groundbreaking evolutionary science. It is necessary and joyful reading for anyone concerned with how our society treats those it calls disordered, and the beginning of a new chapter in how we investigate ourselves as a species"-- Provided by publisher.
    • Content Notes:
      Born pattern seekers -- The systemizing mechanism -- Five types of brains -- The mind of an inventor -- A revolution in the brain -- System-blindness: why monkeys don't skateboard -- The battle of the giants -- Sex in the valley -- Nurturing the inventors of the future.
    • Notes:
      "A 70,000-year history"--Book jacket.
      Includes bibliographical references (pages 187-231) and index.
    • ISBN:
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