Educational cognitive neuroscience: Designing autism-friendly methods to teach emotion recognition

Simon Baron-Cohen, Ofer Golan, Emma Ashwin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Children and adults with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) have difficulties with empathy, but have intact or even above average development of 'systemizing', that is, the drive to analyse or build a system. This chapter reviews the evidence for both the empathy deficits and the systemizing strengths, and present two examples of educational software designed to help people with ASC improve in empathy by playing to their strengths in systemizing. These are the Mind Reading and The Transporters DVDs, respectively. Treatment trials of both are summarized which confirm that even after relatively shortterm intervention with these programmes, improvements in empathy (specifically the cognitive element of emotion recognition) are seen. The chapter concludes that if interventions use the knowledge from cognitive neuroscience to design autism-friendly formats for teaching, then even complex aspects of social cognition can be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeuroscience in Education
Subtitle of host publicationThe good, the bad, and the ugly
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191739187
ISBN (Print)9780199600496
StatePublished - 24 May 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2012. All rights reserved.


  • Autism spectrum conditions
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Empathy deficits
  • Systemizing empathy
  • Teaching


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