Project

Monotropism & the mind as an interest system

Goal: We aim to demonstrate that Monotropism provides a more complete explanation of autism than any other theory. We are also looking broadly at the role of interests in human cognition, and relations between autism and other differences, like ADHD.

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Project log

Valeria Garau
added an update
Poster presentation of the project "Preliminary development and validation of a novel self-report measure of monotropism in autism" at the Autistica Research Festival 2022.
Link to presentation: (tbc)
 
Fergus Murray
added an update
There is now a site to act as a central resource on Monotropism for anyone interested in learning about autism as autistic people understand it: https://monotropism.org/
There is a page of explanations of the theory, a page about putting it into practice, and a page about its history; the site also houses an archive of Dinah Murray's work.
 
Gemma Louise Williams
added a research item
Presentation to the Relevance Researchers' Network online. RECORDING OF THE FULL TALK AND ENSUING DISCUSSION AVAILABLE HERE: https://youtu.be/EuNTviwKuOI Abstract: Relevance theorists are well-versed in the role of mutual cognitive environments in ostensive-inferential communication. In my recently completed doctoral research, I investigated the role that faulty assumptions about what is mutually manifest might play in the breakdowns in mutual understanding between autistic and non-autistic people, otherwise known as the ‘double empathy problem’ (Milton, 2012). This talk introduces the theoretical background of my research and describes how the analysis of recorded, naturalistic conversations involving autistic and non-autistic interlocutors highlighted the potential importance of concepts such as flow, rapport and affect, and interest to a relevance theoretic account of utterance interpretation and social communication. Finally, this talk explores what these concepts might have in common and asks how, technically, they might relate to the construct of ‘relevance’?
Fergus Murray
added a research item
Different ways of processing the sensory and social world lead to profoundly different experiences of the classroom. Understanding the roles of cognitive load and flow states in autistic wellbeing can make all the difference. Minds vary more than a lot of people realize. Some of us process the world very differently from others, and that does not mean we are broken or wrong. Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD are developmental differences which can be disabling when needs aren’t met, but which usually come with strengths as well as weaknesses. The diversity of human brains makes us a much more interesting species, but how do we as teachers work with all these different kinds of minds?
Fergus Murray
added a project goal
We aim to demonstrate that Monotropism provides a more complete explanation of autism than any other theory. We are also looking broadly at the role of interests in human cognition, and relations between autism and other differences, like ADHD.
 
Fergus Murray
added an update
My mother (and autism pioneer) Dinah Murray died of pancreatic cancer one week ago, on the 7th of July 21, aged 75.
She was well cared for, and with people she loved, right up to the end. She left peacefully and with surprisingly little pain, around four months after she received her cancer diagnosis - long enough for many people to say goodbye and tell her how much she meant to them.
Her legacy in autism theory, practice and politics will live on long after her. She achieved nearly all that she set out to in life, even if it took decades longer than she hoped for explanation of autism in terms of monotropism to really take hold.
Obituary in NeuroClastic here - https://neuroclastic.com/2021/07/07/a-productive-irritant-a-celebration-of-the-life-of-dr-dinah-murray/ - a Guardian obituary is also expected.
 
Fergus Murray
added an update
I've put together a long Twitter thread on research around monotropism here: https://twitter.com/MxOolong/status/1399649740585906176
It's nowhere near complete - there is new research coming out all the time now, which is great to see! Please let me know about any major omissions, especially from authors who aren't already mentioned.
 
Fergus Murray
added a research item
Autism is still widely seen as mysterious – so much so that the most widely recognised symbol of it (unpopular in the autistic community) is a puzzle piece. Various psychological theories of autism haven’t helped all that much, largely because all of the most established ones leave vast swathes of autistic experience completely untouched, and tend to leave people with harmful misconceptions. The one theory I think comes anywhere close to explaining the whole shebang – monotropism – has been largely overlooked by psychologists. Full article: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/me-and-monotropism-unified-theory-autism