The Emanuel Miller Memorial Lecture 1991. Autism and autistic-like conditions: subclasses among disorders of empathy

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1992 Jul;33(5):813-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1992.tb01959.x.


Recent autism and autism-related research from Gothenburg is surveyed. In indigenous families, typical autism seems no more common now than 10 years ago. Genetic factors play a part in causing autism and Asperger syndrome. Certain medical syndromes carry a relatively high risk of concomitant autistic symptoms. Evidence for non-specific brain dysfunction is often found in autism and autistic-like conditions. The search for the underlying clue to the riddle of autism may be futile. Autism might be best conceptualized as a behavioural syndrome reflecting underlying brain dysfunction which shades into other clinical syndromes. A new class of disorders of empathy is proposed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / classification*
  • Autistic Disorder / etiology
  • Autistic Disorder / genetics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors