The Prehistory of Autism

by Penny Spikins, Barry Wright

Were individuals with autism influential thousands of years ago? In this ebook we ask what technological and innovative skills, moral qualities and other contributions autism might have brought to human societies, and consider the archaeological and anthropological evidence for the influence of autism in prehistoric art and artefacts.

In light of our findings, we argue for a new perspective on autism spectrum conditions and their integration in modern society.

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About the Authors


Penny Spikins

Penny Spikins is a Senior Lecturer at the University of York. She is interested in the evolution of cognition and emotions, including differing cognitions, trust and social emotions, and has published numerous papers on these topics as well as a recent book: How Compassion Made Us Human: The Evolutionary Origins of Tenderness, Trust and Morality, Pen and Sword, 2015.

Barry Wright

Barry Wright is Professor of Child mental health at Hull York Medical School. He has been a national Health Service consultant for over twenty years. He has published research into autism in journals such as Autism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, PlosOne and BMJOpen.