Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The autism research rogues gallery

Unfortunately, I don't have time or room to post all their photographs. So this isn't a proper rogues gallery--more like a rogues list.

This would be a list of researchers whose names appear on published or in-press peer-reviewed journal papers which find cognitive strengths in autistics, that is, which report data showing that autistics perform significantly better than non-autistics on various tasks or tests.

As I wrote in my first post here, autism advocacy is the widespread effort to make the world as free of autism--that is, of autistic people--as possible. According to autism advocates, autism research must support their autism advocacy needs and agendas. Otherwise, it should not be conducted much less reported. Researchers whose research designs (whether they like it or not) result in autistics outperforming non-autistics are therefore a bunch of rogues. We should be ashamed of ourselves for cluttering up the peer-reviewed literature with findings that are not going in the right direction.

Only authors of papers reporting data involving groups (autistics versus non-autistic controls matched in various ways) are included in this rogues list. Some researchers appear in the authorship of only one such paper; others appear in several. Here are the rogues:

Aldridge, Alcantara, J.M. Anderson, M. Anderson, Applebaum, Arguin, Barber, Baron-Cohen, Barrett, Bauman, Belleville, Bender, Bernard, Berthiaume, Bertone, Beversdorf, A. Bonnel, A.M. Bonnel, Brindley, Burack, Butler, Caron, Chawarska, Chen, Cherkassy, Chouinard, Cottington, Crucian, M. Dawson, de Jonge, Driver, Durkin, Egel, Enns, Faubert, Felopulos, Findling, Finn, Foxton, Frith, Gallun, Gernsbacher, Gilchrist, Griffiths, Hamilton, Happé, Heaton, Heilman, Hermelin, Hughes, Iarocci, Imhoff, Jarrold, Jelenic, Jemel, Jiminez, Joliffe, Just, Kamio, Kana, Keillor, Keller, Kemner, Klin, R. Koegel, Lahaie, Langdell, Lawson, Leekham, Lockyer, Lopez, Maley, Maybery, Ménard, Minshew, Mitchell, Moore, Morasse, Mottron, Nadeau, O'Brian, O'Riordan, Peretz, Pellicano, Plaisted, Pring, Prior, Okada, Rainville, Raymeakers, Robaey, Rodgers, Ropar, Roeyers, Rutter, Sakihama, Saksida, Saumier, Scheuffgen, Sears, Shah, Sheppard, B.W. Smith, Soulières, Spong, Stauder, Steinmetz, Stewert, Stone, Sweeney, Tager-Flusberg, Toichi, van der Meere, van Engeland, Volkmar, Weisblatt, Wheelright, Yamamoto, Young, Youngstrom

This is a very incomplete list--it's more or less off the top of my head. And in deference to ubiquitous and anti-scientific autism advocacy prejudices re autistic savants, I've left out the entire savant and hyperlexia literatures, which would add considerably to the above rogues. I've left out studies which have been presented at major research conferences, but have not yet been published--which means that well-known names (in autism or other fields) like Ullman, Mostofsky, Joseph and Strauss have for the time being been spared rogue status. If I had more time, I'd list all the rogue researchers' rogue universities, and I'm sure anyone versed in autism research can spot the knight--as well as the famous behaviour analyst--among the rogues.

I've also left out the problem of the impressive heap of findings in the peer-reviewed literature showing autistics performing as well as their non-autistic controls.

Autism advocates making sweeping "autism reality" assumptions about the functioning levels, "severity", etc., of the autistic participants whose strengths were advertantly or inadvertantly revealed by the rogues will be displaying their own unfamiliarity with the published literature in autism.