Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Beate Hermelin

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102166-1

Name and Degrees

Beate Hermelin, BA, PhD

Major Appointments (Institution, Location, Dates)

Medical Research Council, London, ca 1960–ca 1985.

Major Honors and Awards

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal

Landmark Clinical, Scientific, and Professional Contributions

Beate Hermelin was a strikingly original experimental psychologist with an unconventional career and unconventional thinking. It is impossible to talk of her work without also talking of the work of Neil O’Connor, as almost all her publications include both names. Hermelin and O’Connor conducted a series of groundbreaking experimental studies, which tried to explain and interpret the mind of the autistic child. This work, carried out during the 1960s, culminated in a monograph published in 1970. They were the first to systematically ask questions about the cognitive abilities of severely intellectually impaired children, who had previously been considered untestable and ineducable. In their ingeniously and elegantly...


Intellectual Disability Honorary Professor Short Biography Atypical Brain Consummate Skill 
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References and Readings

  1. Hermelin, B. (2001). Bright splinters of the mind. A personal story of research with autistic savants. London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  2. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1965). Visual imperception in psychotic children. British Journal of Psychology, 56(4), 455–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1968). Measures of the occipital alpha rhythm in normal, subnormal and autistic children. British Journal of Psychiatry, 114, 603–610.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1970). Psychological experiments with autistic children. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  5. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1975). The recall of digits by normal, deaf and autistic children. British Journal of Psychology, 66, 203–209.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1986). Idiot savant calendrical calculators: Rules and regularities. Psychological Medicine, 16, 885–893.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1990a). Art and accuracy: The drawing ability of idiot-savants. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 31, 217–228.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1990b). Factors and primes: A specific numerical ability. Psychological Medicine, 20, 163–169.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. O’Connor, N., & Hermelin, B. (1963). Speech and thought in severe subnormality. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  10. O’Connor, N., & Hermelin, B. (1967). The selective visual attention of psychotic children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 8, 167–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. O’Connor, N., & Hermelin, B. (1978). Seeing and hearing and space and time. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  12. O’Connor, N., & Hermelin, B. (1988). Low intelligence and special abilities. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 29, 391–396.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. O’Connor, N., & Hermelin, B. (1989). The memory structure of autistic idiot-savant mnemonists. British Journal of Psychology, 80, 97–111.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. O’Connor, N., & Hermelin, B. (1994). Two autistic savant readers. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 501–515.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Sample References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual (4th ed., Text Rev.). Washington, DC: APA Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bachevalier, J. (1996). Brief report: Medical temporal love and autism: A putative animal model in primates. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 26(2), 217–220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Howlin, P. (2005). Outcomes in autism spectrum disorders. In F. R. Volkmar, A. Klin, R. Paul, & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders (Vol. I, pp. 640–649). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2, 217–250.Google Scholar
  5. Mesibov, G. B., Shea, V., & Schopler, E. (2004). The TEACCH approach to autism spectrum disorders. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of BiosciencesInstitute of Cognitive Neuroscience UCLLondonUK