Modelling me, modelling you: the Autistic self

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The stereotype of autism spectrum conditions (ASC or ‘autism’) focuses on the social and communicative elements of the diagnostic criteria. In this review, we step back from autism as a social and communicative disorder and focus on the autistic self. The autistic self is a key component of the condition which has nevertheless received comparatively little attention. We provide a taxonomy for experimental paradigms in the cognitive sciences that aim to address questions related to the self. We articulate reasons based on domain-general cognitive mechanisms, autobiography and historical conceptions for why the self might differ in ASC. We conclude with elucidating the implications of a predictive processing account of autism on conceptualising the autistic self and how this fits with existing literature, with a focus on context sensitivity, model complexity, learning, integration, active inference and precision. This opens up large scope for future research on unique differences in the autistic self, which could be extended as a framework for understanding the condition as a whole in a new and unified way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalReview Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2019


  • Autism spectrum conditions
  • Autistic self
  • Predictive processing
  • Self-cognition
  • Self-model

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