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

Synonyms

Definition

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

  1. Dawson, M. (2018). Splinter skills and cognitive strengths in autism. In E. B. Braaten (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of intellectual and developmental disorders.Google Scholar
  2. Lawson, W. (2011). The passionate mind: How individuals with autism learn. London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  3. Milton, D. E. M. (2012). On the ontological status of autism: The ‘double empathy problem’. Disability & Society, 27(6), 883–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Miserandino, C. (2003). Cited in Memmott, A (2018), Autism and spoon theory. http://annsautism.blogspot.com/2018/02/autism-and-spoon-theory.html. Accessed 28 Feb 2018.
  5. Murray, D. K. C. (1992). Attention tunnelling and autism. In Living with autism: The individual, the family, and the professional. Durham conference proceedings, obtainable from autism research unit. School of Health Sciences, University of Sunderland, UK.Google Scholar
  6. Murray, D. K., Lesser, M., & Lawson, W. (2005). Attention, monotropism and the diagnostic criteria for autism. Autism, 9, 139–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Rutter, M., & Pickles, A. (2016). Annual research review: Threats to the validity of child psychiatry and psychology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57, 398–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Autistic TaskforceLondonUK