Autistic spectrum disorder in prehistory

Catriona Pickard, Benjamin Pickard, Clive Bonsall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Individuals with ‘extraordinary’ or ‘different’ minds have been suggested to be central to invention and the spread of new ideas in prehistory, shaping modern human behaviour and conferring an evolutionary advantage at population level. In this article the potential for neuropsychiatric conditions such as autistic spectrum disorders to provide this difference is explored, and the ability of the archaeological record to provide evidence of human behaviour is discussed. Specific reference is made to recent advances in the genetics of these conditions, which suggest that neuropsychiatric disorders represent a non-advantageous, pathological extreme of the human mind and are likely a by-product rather than a cause of human cognitive evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-364
Number of pages8
JournalCambridge Archaeological Journal
Volume21
Issue number3
Early online date20 Sep 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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