Sun, 22 November 2020

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT

The Pattern Seekers – A New Theory of Human Invention

Simon Baron-Cohen in conversation with David Malone

Why can humans alone invent? Cambridge Professor of Psychology Simon Baron-Cohen unveils a ground-breaking new theory about the link between autism and ingenuity.

From the first musical instrument to the agricultural, industrial and digital revolutions, the human ability to invent has driven the progress of our species for 70,000 years. But why is this talent limited to humans alone?

In this livestream event, psychologist and world renowned autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen will put forward a bold new theory: because we can identify patterns, specifically if-and-then patterns. And, he will argue, the genes for this unique ability overlap with the genes for autism.

By linking one of our greatest human strengths with a condition that is so often misunderstood, Baron-Cohen will challenge us to think differently about those who think differently.

Praise for Simon Baron-Cohen’s The Pattern Seekers:

‘Ambitious, provocative book…goes beyond the usual discussion of ‘special gifts’ in autism to propose that the diversity of human operating systems has accelerated the advancement of human civilisation and culture in ways we can barely imagine.’ Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes

‘It’s rare to come across a surprising new idea that explains important phenomena, but Simon Baron-Cohen’s exploration of abstract pattern-seeking in human affairs is one of them. This book sheds light on one of humanity’s most distinctive traits, celebrates human cognitive diversity, and is rich with empathy and psychological insight.’ Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works

‘A game-changing book, a passport into exploring the world of innovation and creativity. Most importantly, it celebrates autistic people and is a call for action, to welcome neurodiversity.’ David Joseph, Chairman and CEO Universal Music UK

‘A fascinating account of the mechanisms underlying the related capacities of both autistic individuals and innovators.’ Brian Josephson, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics

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Simon Baron-Cohen

Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Cambridge

Simon Baron-Cohen is professor of psychology and psychiatry and Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University. He is the author of 600 scientific articles and four books, including Zero Degrees of Empathy and The Essential Difference.

David Malone

Award-winning Science Filmmaker

David Malone is a filmmaker and TV presenter whose documentaries include Testing God, Soul Searching (both Channel 4), Dangerous Knowledge and The Secret Life of Waves (both BBC). He is the author of The Debt Generation.