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Sex Differences in the Brain: Implications for Explaining Autism

Simon Baron-Cohen, Rebecca C. Knickmeyer and Matthew K. Belmonte
Science
New Series, Vol. 310, No. 5749, Systems-Level Brain Development (Nov. 4, 2005), pp. 819-823
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3842756
Page Count: 5
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Sex Differences in the Brain: Implications for Explaining Autism
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Abstract

Empathizing is the capacity to predict and to respond to the behavior of agents (usually people) by inferring their mental states and responding to these with an appropriate emotion. Systemizing is the capacity to predict and to respond to the behavior of nonagentive deterministic systems by analyzing input-operation-output relations and inferring the rules that govern such systems. At a population level, females are stronger empathizers and males are stronger systemizers. The "extreme male brain" theory posits that autism represents an extreme of the male pattern (impaired empathizing and enhanced systemizing). Here we suggest that specific aspects of autistic neuroanatomy may also be extremes of typical male neuroanatomy.

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