Professor Simon Baron-Cohen FBA

The neuropsychology of autism (in particular, the phenomenon of mindblindness); the psychology of sex differences in humans; the role of foetal testosterone in neurocognitive development

Elected 2009

Fellow type
UK Fellow
Year elected

Sir Simon Baron-Cohen is a Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is Director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge and was awarded a knighthood for services to people with autism in the New Year 2021 Public Honours List. He is author of five books: Mindblindness, The Essential Difference, Prenatal Testosterone in Mind, Zero Degrees of Empathy, and The Pattern Seekers. He has edited scholarly anthologies including Understanding Other Minds. He has also written books for parents and teachers including Autism and Asperger Syndrome: The Facts. He is author of Mind Reading and The Transporters, digital educational resources to help children with autism learn emotion recognition, and both nominated for BAFTA awards.

He has published over 600 peer-reviewed scientific articles, which have made contributions to many aspects of autism research, to typical cognitive sex differences, and synaesthesia research. Three influential theories he formulated were the ‘mindblindness’ theory of autism in 1985, the ‘prenatal sex steroid’ theory of autism in 1997, and the ‘empathizing-systemizing’ theory of typical sex differences in 2002.

He created the first UK clinic for adults with suspected Asperger Syndrome in 1999, which has helped over 1,000 patients to have their disability recognised. He gave a keynote address to the United Nations in New York on Autism Awareness Day 2017 on the topic of Autism and Human Rights.

He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the American Psychological Association. He is Vice-President of the National Autistic Society, and was President of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR, 2017-19). He was Chair of the NICE Guideline Development Group for Autism (Adults) and was Chair of the Psychology Section of the British Academy. He is co-editor in chief of the journal Molecular Autism and is a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator. He is the Principal Investigator of the Wellcome Trust funded award investigating the genetics of autism, in collaboration with the Sanger Centre.

He serves as Scientific Advisor, Trustee or Patron to several autism charities including the Autism Research Trust, the Cambridge Autism Centre of Excellence, and to the company Auticon, which only employs autistic people. He has taken part in many television documentaries, including the BBC’s Horizon, and Employable Me.

Current post

University of Cambridge Professor of Developmental Psychopathology

Trinity College, Cambridge Fellow

Autism Research Centre, Cambridge Director

National Autistic Society Vice-President


Is synaesthesia more common in autism?

Simon Baron-Cohen - Published in 2013 by Molecular Autism

Vol 40


Simon Baron-Cohen - Published in 2013 by The Lancet

Vol 383

Why are Autism Spectrum Conditions more prevalent in males?

Simon Baron-Cohen - Published in 2011 by PLOS Biology

Vol 9

Sex Differences in the Brain: implications for explaining autism

Simon Baron-Cohen - Published in 2005 by Science

Vol 310

The 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' Test

Simon Baron-Cohen - Published in 2001 by Journal of Child Psychiatry

Vol 42, revised version

Social intelligence in the normal and autistic brain: an fMRI study

Simon Baron-Cohen - Published in 1999 by European Journal of Neuroscience

Vol 11

Does the autistic child have a 'theory of mind'?

Simon Baron-Cohen - Published in 1985 by Cognition

Vol 21

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