The integrated self-categorization model of autism

Psychol Rev. 2022 Nov;129(6):1373-1393. doi: 10.1037/rev0000385. Epub 2022 Jul 18.


In this article, we formally present the Integrated Self-Categorization model of Autism (ISCA). This model brings together the cognitive-perceptual and social-communication features of autism under a single explanatory framework. Specifically, ISCA proposes that the social-communication features that are related to theory of mind dysfunction emerge from the cognitive-perceptual features related to enhanced perceptual functioning and weak central coherence, and proposes that they are linked by dysfunction in the self-categorization process. We present the assumptions on which the model is based, and from these, we derive a set of precise, testable hypotheses, including a set of novel hypotheses that do not emerge from any existing models of autism. We then provide evidence that supports the model, derived from a number of direct tests of the hypotheses that it generates. We conclude by discussing the implications of the model for understanding autism and for intervention to improve the lives of autistic people, as well as future directions. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Autistic Disorder*
  • Humans