Theories of autism

Florence Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of the present paper was to review psychological theories of autism, and to integrate these theories with neurobiological findings. Cognitive, theory of mind, language and coherence theories were identified, and briefly reviewed. Psychological theories were found not to account for the rigid/repetitive behaviours universally described in autistic subjects, and underlying neurobiological systems were identified. When the developing brain encounters constrained connectivity, it evolves an abnormal organization, the features of which may be best explained by a developmental failure of neural connectivity, where high local connectivity develops in tandem with low long-range connectivity, resulting in constricted repetitive behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-868
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Asperger's disorder
  • Autism
  • Coherence
  • Neural connectivity
  • Theory of mind


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