The cognitive basis of a biological disorder: autism

Trends Neurosci. 1991 Oct;14(10):433-8. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(91)90041-r.


This article summarizes recent evidence indicating that individuals suffering from autism have a specific problem in understanding intentions and beliefs. We propose that this problem arises because they are incapable of forming a special kind of mental representation. A single cognitive deficit defines what is common to all autistic individuals. In contrast there is a wide range of proposals for the biological origins of the disorder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans