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Talent and autism









The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG



Organised by Professor Uta Frith FRS and Dr Francesca Happé. In partnership with the British Academy.


Exceptional talents, or so-called savant skills, are strongly associated with autistic disorders, and may occur against a background of severe intellectual impairment. They remain one of the great puzzles for cognitive neuroscience. A symposium focussed on talent and autism would begin a potentially far-reaching discussion between several disciplines.


Related event


A public panel discussion on Talent and Autism was held on 12 March 2009, and a webcast and further information is available.

Schedule of talks

Session 1: Extraordinary People

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

What aspects of autism predispose to talent?

Francesca Happe

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DVD: The Remarkable Savant Syndrome

Darold Treffert and Greg Wallace

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Prevalence and types of talents in the autism spectrum

Patricia Howlin

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Creativity and Imagination in children's art

Ellen Winner

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Session 2: Brain and Talent

3 talks Show detail Hide detail

Inducing savant skills

Allan Snyder

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Cortical modularity and exceptional talent

Manuel Casanova

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The role of systemizing

Simon Baron-Cohen

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Session 3: Cultural Interpretations

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

The iconography of autism

Douwe Draaisma

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Autistic Creativity

Michael Fitzgerald

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Autistic Autobiography

Ian Hacking

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Outsider art

Roger Cardinal

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Season 4 - Varieties of Talent

3 talks Show detail Hide detail

Autism and levels of perceptual processing

Kate Plaisted Grant

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Pattern detection and completion in savant syndrome

Laurent Mottron

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Visual thinking in autism

Temple Grandin

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Talent and autism

Discussion Meeting organised by Professor Uta Frith FRS and Dr Francesca Happé. In partnership with the British Academy.

The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK
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