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From Puzzle to Progress: How Engaging With Neurodiversity Can Improve Cognitive Science

journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-13, 15:55 authored by Mahmoud Elsherif

In cognitive science, there is a tacit norm that phenomena such as cultural variation or synaesthesia are worthy examples of cognitive diversity that contribute to a better understanding of cognition, but that other forms of cognitive diversity (e.g., autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/ADHD, and dyslexia) are primarily interesting only as examples of deficit, dysfunction, or impairment. This status quo is dehumanizing and holds back much-needed research. In contrast, the neurodiversity paradigm argues that such experiences are not necessarily deficits but rather are natural reflections of biodiversity. Here, we propose that neurodiversity is an important topic for future research in cognitive science. We discuss why cognitive science has thus far failed to engage with neurodiversity, why this gap presents both ethical and scientific challenges for the field, and, crucially, why cognitive science will produce better theories of human cognition if the field engages with neurodiversity in the same way that it values other forms of cognitive diversity. Doing so will not only empower marginalized researchers but will also present an opportunity for cognitive science to benefit from the unique contributions of neurodivergent researchers and communities.

History

Author affiliation

School of Psychology and Vision Science, University of Leicester

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Cognitive Science

Volume

47

Issue

2

Pagination

e13255 - e13255

Publisher

Wiley

issn

1551-6709

Copyright date

2023

Language

en

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