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Webinar: Geoff Bird explores overlap between autism, alexithymia

1 March 2017
The Presenter

Geoff Bird

Associate professor, University of Oxford

On 1 March, Geoff Bird discussed the similarities and differences between autism and alexithymia, a condition characterized by an inability to recognize one’s own and others’ emotions.

You can watch a complete replay of the webinar above.

Use the comments section below to submit questions we didn’t have time to discuss during the Q&A session or to pose follow-up questions for Bird.

Press Policy
The Spectrum Webinar Series aims to facilitate the free exchange of ideas among autism researchers, including discussion of published and unpublished research, hypotheses and results. Members of the press may report information presented during a Spectrum webinar only if that material has already been published elsewhere or they have first obtained express written consent from the presenter.

About Webinars
Presentations by leading experts that showcase new findings, useful techniques and emerging topics in autism research. We invite questions before and during the presentations in the Comments section.
  • Pete

    I can’t be there for the webinar because of timezone but I agree with the overlap. I have Aspergers along with other mental conditions and when reporting to my psychologist and psychiatrist it is really difficult to because I can’t tell how I am feeling. I don’t know if treatment have improved or not hence making it difficult for the specialist. It’s hard that I can’t identify my own self

    • Claire Cameron

      Hi there, the webinar replay has now been posted above. We hope you find it interesting, and thank you for reading Spectrum.

  • Joybe

    I am the parent of a 22-year old with autism. As soon as I started exploring neuroscience (especially affective and social neuroscience) and exploring my son’s sensory functioning, I concluded that alexithymia was a key part my son’s ASD symptoms. That was at least 10 years ago and I’ve been bringing this up with the experts in my state since then. Thank you to Professor Bird and Simons Foundation for highlighting what I believe is an important and overlooked issue.

  • MommaDear

    Hoping this webinar will be available for listening following the live event. I am eager to learn more about this important topic and appreciate the research Prof. Bird and his colleagues are conducting.
    Thank you.

    • Claire Cameron

      Hi there, the webinar replay has now been posted above. We hope you find it interesting! Thanks for reading Spectrum.

  • Paul Dean

    How can a doctor be so stupid? So all of the studies that show mirror neurons don’t activate the same way for people with autism are invalidated by your studies, which aren’t even linked. I’d like to see your data so someone competent can analyse it, otherwise I’m calling bullshit. For decades, autism has been defined by a lack of empathy, if you want to upset that view, then you need some solid proof. The fact that Alexithymia is often but not always co-morbib does not imply that there is no universal lack of empathy, it implies that some people with autism do not have Alexithymia. Alexithymia is not the empathy described in the diagnostic criteria. It’s called cognitive empathy, and every study shows that people with autism all have impairments in cognitive empathy. If you have a study that shows that it is not true, then provide it for peer review and repeatability. Otherwise you’re just another dumb person making claims about things you don’t fully understand, and don’t come at me with an appeal to authority. Going through 8 years of school doesn’t make you infallible. If you want to convince me that people with autism do not lack empathy, then you need to redefine autism.


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