Masculine features support 'extreme male brain' theory of autism spectrum disorder

Masculine features support ‘extreme male brain’ theory of autism spectrum disorder
An example of the images created from high (left) and low (right) scoring ASD symptom scorers.

Recent research from Bangor University has revealed a new spin to a long-standing theory of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

The 'extreme male brain' theory proposed by Simon Baron-Cohen, speculates that ASD is a consequence of elevated pre-natal testosterone levels. In a study recently published in the journal, Clinical Psychological Science, Naomi Scott and colleagues at Bangor University's School of Psychology investigated the possible implications this has for a associated with ASD.

They created two sets of composite images made up of the of individuals scoring high and low for symptoms of ASD. When these images were rated they found males with more symptoms of ASD to be rated as more masculine in appearance.

This finding not only lends support to Baron-Cohen's theory but also connects physical traits and behaviour through hormonal effects. The implications of this are two-fold; firstly from a clinical perspective they demonstrate the existence of associated with ASD that are identifiable by untrained observers - that males with ASD are hyper-masculine in facial appearance. Second are social consequences of these perceptions. Highly masculine males are perceived to be dominant and aggressive, characteristics not in tune with the classic perception of individuals with ASD.

Naomi Scott, who completed this research as part of a PhD funded by the Economic and Social Research Council said:

"One of the consequences of ASD is impaired social skills and these findings suggest an additional barrier for individuals with the disorder to overcome. We make assessments about an individual's personality from first glance using cues from , which we then use to gauge how to interact with that individual. If these cues don't match the person's behaviour, the interaction may be jilted from the offset, amplifying existing social skills problems for individuals with ASD."

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Facial motion a clue to difficulties in social interaction among autistic adults

More information: Scott, N. J., Jones, A. L., Kramer, R. S. S., & Ward, R. (In press). "Facial dimorphism in Autistic Quotient scores." Clinical Psychological Science.
Journal information: Clinical Psychological Science

Provided by Bangor University
Citation: Masculine features support 'extreme male brain' theory of autism spectrum disorder (2014, December 11) retrieved 22 October 2019 from
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Dec 11, 2014
This "research" sounds more like Sascha than like Simon.

Dec 11, 2014
This is ABSURD!!!!!!!!!!! If you really want to "study" autism, then do a vaccinated VS non vaccinated study....There's your answer to millions of kids who have this disorder. What a waste of time for these children, looking at "facial appearance". I am so tired of reading the BS studies done that show absolutely nothing. And NOT ONE study done on vaccinated VS non vaccinated. There are SO many studies that have been done showing a correlation to autism and environmental assaults, but the mainstream media refuses to report. If you are interested you can start with looking up the CDC Whistleblower Dr. Thompson......

Dec 12, 2014
They are looking at everything but the glaring factor: radiofrequency radiation has exploded into the environment. See the presentation on study of mice from Johns Hopkins scientist, and other presentations, at C4ST in the MD Symposium. For heaven's sake, voltage gated calcium exchanges are flipped on, and blood brain barrier is harmed and therefore, leaks, and hormones that protect sleep and from cancers are depleted by the RF allowed by FCC. The industry RUNS everything, thus, the science showing the harm of RF and microwaves is suppressed or ignored. We are no longer at "let's take precautions." We are at emergency action time here to save people, including fetuses, from radiofrequency radiation - a biological hazard.

Dec 12, 2014
Here are the flaws in the 'extreme male brain' theory. Those who have more testosterone, whether by voluntarily adding it or by natural abundance, have the following traits over those who have normal levels:
greater sexual drive; balding, increased muscle mass and bone density, shorter temper and greater aggression, greater confidence and desire to dominate.

None of these traits are found consistently in Autistic people. Indeed, some minor properties of higher testosterone must be substantially amplified to arrive at the Barron-Cohen conjecture. Muscle building autistic individuals are all but unknown among autistic people and those with *low testosterone* levels. Thus one could actually make the opposite case to the 'extreme male brain' theory just as stridently, if not more so.

A fail on this one...almost as amusing as his brother's work.

Dec 12, 2014
Now, now. At least they're trying. My youngest that has autism would actually exemplify the extreme male theory. He isn't bald, yet, though. He definitely has muscle mass and bone density, a short fuse, I've got his aggression down (knock on wood), and he thinks he should be in charge at all times. He's only 7 and already super strong, so getting the behaviors under control now is my only option. Not super attached to any schedule as long as he gets to do what he wants, which included jumping on the trampoline this morning instead of getting ready for school like he was supposed to. What traits have been found consistently in autistic people? This could be a subtype? About the only thing I've seen that they are finding consistently in all children with autism is brain inflammation.

Dec 12, 2014
And again, the media leaves out the manufacturer's insert to the vaccines they create that clearly list "autism" as a side effect. The makers themselves admit it. But let's blame everything else BUT big pHARM.

Dec 15, 2014
This is ABSURD!!!!!!!!!!! If you really want to "study" autism, then do a vaccinated VS non vaccinated study....

Enough already. This has been researched to death, and time and again no correlation is found between vaccinations and autism incidence. How long do you guys intend on clinging to the fantasy that "no study has been done" to test this?


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