Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Monotropism – An Interest Based Account of Autism

  • Dinah MurrayEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102269-1



The central idea of monotropism (a word coined for Murray in 1992 by Jeanette Buirski) is that in autism, processing resource strongly tends to localize and concentrate to the exclusion of other input; an atypicality from which many other differences can be seen to follow. Understanding this concept fully requires a view of mind as a system of interests which inform cognitive, perceptual, and emotional processes. Hence this definition briefly sketches that model.

Interests are what we care about, what we spontaneously give attention to, and what we value (if only briefly). In our model they are fueled by a scarce resource (N = “interest” or “attention”) of highly and dynamically varying distribution both within and between different individuals (see Murray’s PhD, 1986), Language structures interest systems (guaranteeing mental overlap) and is an expressive tool for...

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References and Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Autistic TaskforceLondonUK