How to evaluate the ‘intense world’ paradigm?

Last month, in a ViewpointUta Frith and Anna Remington raised concerns about the ‘intense world theory’ of autism, an idea that has received considerable popular press lately.

The theory holds that circuits in the brains of people with autism overreact to certain stimuli in the environment, hindering their ability to integrate sensory information meaningfully. Many of the reports on sensory perception in individuals with autism align with this concept.

However, Frith and Remington argue that the theory hasn’t received enough academic scrutiny and that sensory responses in autism are highly variable, with some people underreacting to stimuli rather than overreacting. They maintain that recommending a withdrawal of sensory stimulation based on this paradigm is premature and perhaps even dangerous.

We asked five other researchers to respond to this debate — including the theory’s original framer, Henry Markram — as part of our discussion series, Cross Talk.

This article was originally published on How to evaluate the ‘intense world’ paradigm?

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