About this Research Topic
Research focusing on psychological aspects of autism is an expanding discipline, covering multiple fields including cognition, perception, clinical research, neuroscience, and social psychology. New knowledge is accruing all the time, but with an increase in research comes the difficulty of assimilating the findings, stepping back and understanding the patterns or limitations. This is particularly pertinent as it is a time where long-standing theories are being updated, innovative approaches are being adopted, and these changes need to be filtered out to the different branches of Psychology.
The aim of this Research Topic is to bring together the latest thinking around autism across the multiple research fields of Psychology, mapping key developments and innovations as well as highlighting future directions. In particular, we wish to bring multidisciplinary researchers together to showcase new theories and paradigms, cutting edge technologies and identify any common themes that researchers with different backgrounds can access and move forward. In order to situate the research in the context of real-life meaning, contributions should also emphasize the practical relevance of their findings or theories for autistic individuals and their families.
There are a number of topical areas that are producing new avenues, together with challenges. An exciting new area that promises to facilitate this effort is that of digital phenotyping where digital tools such as eye and motion tracking are combined with psychological tasks to find behavioral biomarkers of autism groups. Since the inclusion of sensory issues in the DSM 5 and the top ten autism priorities identified by Autistica in 2015, research efforts have increased to characterize sensory and perceptual issues, understand their etiology and develop appropriate therapies or support. Growing interest in coordination difficulties that frequently accompany autism has led to exploration of what impact they have on aspects such as diagnosis and understanding of other people’s actions. There has also been greater focus on participatory research – conducting research together with autistic individuals and family members. This is leading to research questions that are more driven by autistic people themselves and re-evaluation of the interpretation of findings.
We encourage submissions from across the Psychology discipline (neuropsychology, cognitive, applied, social, biological and developmental psychology and neuroscience). Articles should either provide novel research results that clearly articulate the current state of knowledge or offer a comprehensive overview of original empirical studies, drawing together theories and future directions. Authors should outline what relevance their findings or theories have, or could have in the future for autistic people and their families and, where applicable, how they link to the priorities of the autistic community. We also encourage those articles that are participatory in nature. We hope that this interdisciplinary Research Topic will enable researchers, clinicians, practitioners, and autistic individuals to more fully understand the current knowledge and areas of debate across Psychology in order to identify ideas, links, and collaborative research opportunities.
Keywords: autism, cognition, perception, neuroscience, social psychology, participatory research
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.