Professor Uta Frith DBE FBA FMedSci FRS
Uta Frith is a developmental psychologist with a special interest in autism and dyslexia. When Uta began her research, people believed these conditions were of ‘psychogenic’ origin. She therefore set out to link them to the brain and behaviour, changing the mainstream view of these brain disorders along the way.
She developed two of the main theories to explain the core symptoms of autism: ‘lack of implicit mentalising’ and ‘weak central coherence’. Implicit mentalising is the automatic ability to predict behaviour from moment to moment on the basis of mental states such as beliefs and desires. Weak central coherence could be a reason why autistic people excel at focusing on fine detail but fail to see the bigger picture, thus giving rise to some special talents.
Uta is an advocate for the advancement of women in science and has founded support networks for female scientists. She is also interested in ensuring that neuroscience research remains relevant to education and lifelong learning. She was awarded an honorary DBE in 2012 for services to clinical science.
Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London (UCL)
Interests and expertise