This volume covers several perspectives on autism which bring together the most recent scientific views of the nature of this disorder. A number of themes organize major developments and emerging areas in autism: Cognitive and neural systems development: how autism arises in the behavior and thought of very young children. Discovering brain mechanisms underlying social and cognitive deficits in autism: how we can explain "social awkwardness" and poor language comprehension in terms of malfunctions of brain mechanisms, revealed by fMRI studies of people with autism. Integrating information about genes, brain, and biological mechanisms with behavioral evidence. Linking the science of autism with lives lived: how the new information about autism impacts people with autism and real-world considerations.
Marcel A. Just is the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. His brain-imaging research investigates the biological mechanisms underlying the altered psychological processes in autism. His autism research has made several fundamental discoveries concerning differences in brain function, including findings of alterations in synchronization, in white matter communication tracts, and in the balance of frontal versus posterior activation. Kevin A. Pelphrey is the Harris Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center. His research addresses fundamental questions regarding the typical and atypical development of brain mechanisms for social cognition in children with and without autism spectrum disorders.