Autism spectrum disorders: A relational cause

McDowell, Dr Maxson J (2013) Autism spectrum disorders: A relational cause. (Unpublished)

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Jones and Klin (1) showed that newborns who will later develop autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) pay normal attention to eyes, but that attention declines from 2-6 months. This shows, they say, how 'initial genotypic vulnerabilities' cause ASDs. Their results suggest, however, that ASDs are caused by insufficient practice of early eye-contact.

Item Type:Other
Keywords:newborn, eye contact, autism spectrum disorders, direct cause, mother-infant pair
Subjects:Neuroscience > Behavioral Neuroscience
Biology > Theoretical Biology
Psychology > Developmental Psychology
ID Code:9132
Deposited By: McDowell, Doctor Maxson J.
Deposited On:25 Feb 2014 12:39
Last Modified:25 Feb 2014 12:39

References in Article

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1. Jones, W. & Klin, A. Attention to eyes is present but in decline in 2–6-month-old infants later diagnosed with autism. Nature doi:10.1038/nature12715 (2013)

2. Novella, S. Evidence in medicine: correlation and causation. Science-Based Medicine. Posted Nov 18 (2009)

3. Abrahams, B. S. & Geschwind, D. H. Advances in autism genetics: on the threshold of a new neurobiology. Nature Rev. Genet. 9, 341-355 (2008)

4. McDowell, M. J. Autism's direct cause? Failure of infant-mother eye contact in a complex adaptive system. Biological Theory 5(4), 344-356 (2011). Also at:

5. State, M. W. & Sestan, N. Neuroscience: the emerging biology of autism spectrum disorders. Science 337, 1301–1303 (2012)

6. Klin, A., Jones, W., Schultz, R.T., Volkmar, F.R. The enactive mind – from actions to cognition: lessons from autism. Phil. Trans. R. Soc., Bio. Sci. 358, 345-360 (2003)

7. McDowell, M. J. Autism, early narcissistic injury and self-organization: a role for the image of the mother's eyes? J. Analyt. Psychol. 49(4), 495-520 (2004)

8. Waldman, M., Nicholson, N. A., & Williams, J. Autism prevalence and precipitation rates in California, Oregon, and Washington counties. Arch. Ped. Adol. Med. 162(11), 1026-34 (2008)


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