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Department of Psychology

The Autism Research Centre (ARC), of which I am Director, has 12 programs of research, all focusing on autism. 6 of these are in basic research: (a) Perception and Cognition; (b) Neuroscience; (c) Genetics and Environmental; (d) Hormones; (e) Epidemiology; (f) Synaesthesia. The other 6 programs are in applied research: (g) Screening and Diagnosis; (h) Employment; (i) Education; (j) Criminal Justice; (k) Physical Health; and (l) Mental Health. These are described on the Autism Research Centre website ( Support comes from the Wellcome Trust, the Simons Foundation, the Rosetrees Trust, NIHR, the Templeton World Charity Foundation, and the Autism Centre of Excellence (ACE) at Cambridge, among other sources.


Key publications: 

Baron-Cohen, S, Leslie, A.M., & Frith, U, (1985) Does the autistic child have a “theory of mind?” Cognition, 21, 37-46.

Baron-Cohen, S, Cox, A, Baird, G, Swettenham, J, Drew, A, Nightingale, N, Morgan, K, & Charman, T, (1996) Psychological markers in the detection of autism in infancy in a large population. British Journal of Psychiatry, 168, 158-163.

Baron-Cohen, S, Ring, H, Wheelwright, S, Bullmore, E, Brammer, M, Simmons, A, & Williams, S, (1999) Social intelligence in the normal and autistic brain: an fMRI study. European Journal of Neuroscience, 11, 1891-1898.

Baron-Cohen, S, Wheelwright, S, Hill, J, Raste, Y, & Plumb, I, (2001) The ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ test revised version: a study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism.  Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychiatry, 42, 241-252.

Nunn, J, Gregory, L, Morris, R, Brammer, M, Bullmore, E, Harrison, J, Williams, S, Baron-Cohen, S, and Gray, J, (2002) Functional magnetic resonance imaging of synaesthesia: activation of V4/V8 by spoken words. Nature Neuroscience, 5, 371-375.

Baron-Cohen, S, Knickmeyer, R, & Belmonte, M (2005) Sex differences in the brain: implications for explaining autism. Science, 310, 819-823.

Auyeung, B, Baron-Cohen, S, Chapman, E, Knickmeyer, R, Taylor, K & Hackett, G, (2009) Fetal testosterone and autistic traits. British Journal of Psychology, 100, 1-22.

Baron-Cohen, S, Lombardo, M, Auyeung, B, Ashwin, E, Chakrabarti, B, & Knickmeyer, R, (2011) Why are autism spectrum conditions more prevalent in males? PLoS Biology, 9, e1001081. And Supplementary Material to ‘Why are autism spectrum conditions more prevalent in males?’

Schwarz, E, Guest P, Rahmoune, H, Wang, L, Levin, Y, Ingudomnukul, E, Ruta, L, Kent, L, Spain, M, Baron-Cohen, S, & Bahn, S, (2011) Sex-specific serum biomarker patterns in adults with Asperger's Syndrome. Molecular Psychiatry, 16, 1213-1220.

Lombardo, M, Ashwin, E, Auyeung, B, Chakrabarti, Taylor, K, Hackett, G, Bullmore, E, & Baron-Cohen, S, (2012) Fetal testosterone influences sexually dimorphic gray matter in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 674-680.

Baron-Cohen, S, Auyeung, B, Nørgaard-Pedersen, B, Hougaard, D.M, Abdallah, M.W, Melgaard, L, Cohen, A.S, Chakrabarti, B, Ruta, L, Lombardo, M.V, (2015) Elevated fetal steroidogenic activity in autism. Molecular Psychiatry, 20, 369-376.

Cherskov, A, Pohl, A, Allison, C, Zhang, H, Payne, A, R, Baron-Cohen, S, (2018) Polycystic ovary syndrome and autism: A test of the prenatal sex steroid theory.  Translational Psychiatry, 8, 136.

Greenberg, D, M, Warrier, V, Allison, C, Baron-Cohen, S, (2018) Testing the Empathizing-Systemizing theory of sex differences and the Extreme Male Brain theory of autism in half a million people.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 12152-12157.

Tilot, A, K, Kucera, K, S, Vino, A, Asher, J, E, Baron-Cohen, S, Fisher, S, E, (2018) Rare variants in axonogenesis genes connect three families with sound-color synesthesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 3168-73.

Warrier, V, Grasby, K, L, Uzefovsky, F, Toro, R, Smith, P, Chakrabarti, B, Khadake, J, Mawbey-Adamson, E, Litteman, N, Hottenga, J-J, Lubke, G, Boomsma, D, I, Martin, N, G, Hatemi, P, K, Medland, S, E, Hinds, D, A, Bourgeron, T, & Baron-Cohen, S, (2018) Genome-wide meta-analysis of cognitive empathy: heritability, and correlates with sex, neuropsychiatric conditions and cognition. Molecular Psychiatry, 23, 1402–1409.

Warrier, V, Toro, R, Won, H, Leblond, C, Cliquet, F, Delorme, R, De Witte, W, Bralten, J, Chakrabarti, B, Borglum, A, Grove, J, Poelmans, G, Hinds, D,  Bourgeron, T, and Baron-Cohen, S (2019) Social and non-social autism symptom and trait domains are genetically dissociable.  Communications Biology, 2, 1-13.

Baron-Cohen, S, Tsompanidis, A, Auyeung, B, Norgaard-Pedersen, B, Hougaard, D, Abdallah, M, Cohen, A, Pohl, A, (2020) Foetal oestrogens and autism. Molecular Psychiatry, 25, 2970-2978. 

Warrier, V, Zhang, X, Reed, P, Havdahl, A, Moore, T, M, Cliquet, F, Leblond, C, S, Rolland, T, Rosengren, A, EU-AIMS LEAP, iPSYCH-Autism Working Group, Spectrum10K and APEX Consortia, Rowitch, D, H, Hurles, M, E, Geschwind, D, H, Borglum, A, D, Robinson, E, B, Grove, J, Martin, H, C, Bourgeron, T, Baron-Cohen, S, (2022) Genetic correlates of phenotypic heterogeneity in autism.  Nature Genetics, 54, 1293-1304.

Floris, D, L, Peng, H, Warrier, V, Lombardo, M, V, Pretzsch, C, M, Moreau, C, Tsompanidis, A, Gong, W, Mennes, M, Llera, A, van Rooij, D, Oldehinkel, M, Forde, N, Charman, T, Tillmann, J, Banaschewski, T, Moessnang, C, Durston, S, Holt, R, J, Ecker, C, Dell’Acqua, F, Loth, E, Bourgeron, T, Murphy, D, G, M, Marquand, A, F, Lai, M-C, Buitelaar, J, K, Baron-Cohen, S, Beckmann, C, F, the EU-AIMS LEAP Group, (2023) The link between autism and sex-specific neuroanatomy, and associated cognition and gene expression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1, 50-64.

Greenberg, D, M, Warrier, V, Abu-Akel, A, Allison, C, Gajos, K, Z, Reinecke, K, Rentfrow, P, J, Radecki, M, A, Baron-Cohen, S, (2023) Sex and age differences in “theory of mind” across 57 countries using the English version of the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120, e2022385119.

Professor Baron-Cohen is interested in taking PhD students. Potential applicants should apply via the Department of Psychiatry.

Professor of Developmental Psychopathology
Director, Autism Research Centre (ARC)
Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge
Person keywords: 
Asperger Syndrome
sex differences and empathy
social Neuroscience
Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy