Evolution and Asperger’s Syndrome: Is There a Connection?

Dean Falk, SAR Senior Scholar and Hale G. Professor, Department of Anthropology, Florida State University

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 12:00–1:00 pm

Evolution and Asperger’s Syndrome: Is There a Connection?Evolution and Asperger’s Syndrome: Is There a Connection?Dean Falk, SAR Senior Scholar and Hale G. Professor, Department of Anthropology, Florida State UniversityEvolution and Asperger’s Syndrome: Is There a Connection?Dean Falk, SAR Senior Scholar and Hale G. Professor, Department of Anthropology, Florida State University“Hano Pueblo, Hopi, Arizona, ca. 1890”“Hano Pueblo, Hopi, Arizona, ca. 1890”Ben Wittick (Photographer). Hano was a Hopi village occupied by Tewa descendants of people who migrated from the Rio Grande Valley.

Natural selection seeded the evolution of certain behaviors that helped make us human by targeting early hominin mothers and their infants. These include sustained eye contact, tone of voice, body language, and an ability to attribute intentions and motivations to others. People with Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulty with many of these behaviors. The role played by evolution in the emergence of this syndrome is examined.

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