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Autistic Cognition: Charting Routes to Anxiety

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  • Eloise Stark, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital
  • ,
  • James Stacey, Warneford Hospital
  • ,
  • Will Mandy, University College London
  • ,
  • Morten L. Kringelbach
  • Francesca Happé, King's College London

Autism Spectrum Conditions are typified by a divergence in cognitive style from that of the non-autistic population. Cognitive differences in autism may underlie significant strengths, but also increase vulnerability to psychopathology such as anxiety, which is a major problem for many autistic people. Many autistic people also do not respond to typical psychotherapeutic interventions, suggesting that autism-specific models and interventions are needed. We advance a theoretical model explaining how three constructs, attenuated predictions, intolerance of uncertainty, and ‘black and white thinking’, may interact to lead to anxiety in autism. We hope to start a dialogue surrounding how we can best address specific autistic cognitive differences that may lead to distress by developing appropriate models, measurements, and psychotherapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Pages (from-to)571-581
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

    Research areas

  • anxiety, autism, black and white thinking, cognition, intolerance of uncertainty, predictive processing

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