Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging

at Carnegie Mellon University


Seminar on Autism 85-406, 85-806

Instructor: Marcel Just (, BH327-H)

Autism is a disorder that affects many cognitive and social processes, sparing some facets of thought while strongly impacting others. This seminar will examine the scientific research that has illuminated the nature of autism, focusing on its cognitive and biological aspects. For example, language, perception, and Theory of Mind are affected in autism. The readings will include a few short books and many primary journal articles. The readings will deal primarily with autism in people whose IQs are in the normal range (high-functioning autism). Seminar members will be expected to regularly enter into class discussions and make presentations based on the readings. The seminar will examine various domains of thinking and various biological underpinnings of brain function, to converge on the most recent scientific consensus on the biological and psychological characterization of autism. There will be a special focus on brain imaging studies of autism, including both structural (MRI) imaging of brain morphology and functional (fMRI and PET) imaging of brain activation during the performance of various tasks.