Theoretical Paper

Does Autism Represent the Next Stage of Human Evolution?

Author: Mihaela Diviricean
Titu Maiorescu University, Bucharest, Romania

A number of specialists in the field of autism spectrum disorders would firmly answer “yes” to the question of whether autism could represent the next stage of human evolution. The supporters of this idea specifically refer to those individuals who are part of the spectrum, but without the intellectual deterioration component (without mental retardation), even though there is no well-defined and demonstrated theory for this hypothesis. Many people with autism have exceptional memory skills, high acuity in senses such as sight, taste, smell, and a highly developed level of understanding. Incorporating some of these skills into societies would have played a vital role in the general development of humanity by transmitting discoveries made by such people to their communities. This rationale is suggested in an anthropological report published in Time and Mind academic journal by a team of researchers from the University of York (Spikins, Wright, & Hodgson, 2016).

Keywords: autism spectrum disorders, human evolution, transition, communication deficits