Readers of this blog will be familiar with two of my passionate theory building exercises- the first concerned with the eight stage developmental/ evolutionary stage theories and the second being the Autism and Schizophrenia /Psychosis as opposite poles on a continuum theory. While the first premise of stage theories was recently attached by Micaheal Shermer in Mainstream media of Scientific American; the other theory seems to have caught the fancy of Mainstream Media. Two days ago there were two articles by people I admire a lot, in magazines I admire a lot, that elucidated the Autism and Schizophrenia as opposite poles theory. The first was an article by Benedict Carrey in NYT and the second was an article by Carl Zimmer in Discover magazine. The two synchronous reporting are a result of a Baddock and Crespi article in Nature , this august. But the mainstream media, as always, is late to the party when compared with the blogosphere.
I have been proposing and promoting the Autism and Schizophrenia as opposite poles argument since the inception of this blog, but the ideas crystallized about two year back based on work of Nettle. Since then I have found evidence from different quarters including Chris Frith and Baddock and Crespi. I covered the Baddock and Crespi original article (not the Nature opinion piece) about a year back, though it didn’t find many takers at that time. I am glad that the same is finding acceptance now and is going mainstream. The Discover magazine article is really good and gives you some analysis of how gene imprinting works and how that may be instrumental in differential outcomes in the two cases of Autism and Schizophrenia and I recommend reading it as well as the NYT arcticle. If you want to read more about this theory, of course the first recommendation from me would be to read all the Mouse Trap articles labeled Autism or Schizophrenia or Psychosis. If you are more scientifically inclined, go read the original Baddock and Crespi paper amongst others. If you would just like to see the buzz in blogosphere and for some more context see the Mind Hacks article (that correctly mentions Chris Frith as a pioneer, but sadly does not mention efforts of Nettle in the same Autism-Schizophrenia model development) or see the Peter Cramer blog at In Practice from which I originally came to know of this mainstream media acceptance.
I hope that one day the eight stage model will also find the same sort of media acceptance and will lead to more stimulating work.