Simon Baron-Cohen, "The Pattern Seekers: A New Theory of Human Invention" (Allen Lane, 2020)

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Why are humans alone capable of invention? This question is relevant to every human invention, from music to mathematics, sculpture and science, dating back to the beginnings of civilization. In The Pattern Seekers: A New Theory of Human Invention, Simon Baron-Cohen, the director of the Autism Research Center at Cambridge University, presents a new theory of human invention. His unexpected claim is that understanding autistic people — specifically their unstoppable drive to seek patterns, a characteristic of the condition — is the key to understanding both the ancient origins and the modern flowering of human creativity.

In The Pattern Seekers, Simon Baron-Cohen’s goal is two-fold: to provide an answer to the long-standing question about human invention and to understand the role that autistic people played in the evolution of human invention. His higher message is to change the way our society views and treats autistic people. “Among the new generation of hypersystemizers will be some of the great inventors of our future…If we acknowledge that some autistic people were and still are the drivers of the evolution of science, technology, art, and other forms of invention, their future can be different.”

Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.

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