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

Manalili, Marie A. R., Pearson, Amy, Sulik, Justin, Creechan, Louise, Elsherif, Mahmoud, Murkumbi, Inika, Azevedo, Flavio, Bonnen, Kathryn L., Kim, Judy S., Kording, Konrad, Lee, Julie J., Obscura, Manifold, Kapp, Steven K., Röer, Jan P. and Morstead, Talia (2023) From Puzzle to Progress: How Engaging With Neurodiversity Can Improve Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science, 47 (2). pp. 1-11. ISSN 0364-0213

Item Type: Article


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.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Cognitive diversity; Neurodiversity; Norms; Social cognition; Epistemic injustice; Scientific discovery
Depositing User: Amy Pearson


Item ID: 15757
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0364-0213
Official URL:

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ORCID for Amy Pearson: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2023 13:52
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 11:15


Author: Amy Pearson ORCID iD
Author: Marie A. R. Manalili
Author: Justin Sulik
Author: Louise Creechan
Author: Mahmoud Elsherif
Author: Inika Murkumbi
Author: Flavio Azevedo
Author: Kathryn L. Bonnen
Author: Judy S. Kim
Author: Konrad Kording
Author: Julie J. Lee
Author: Manifold Obscura
Author: Steven K. Kapp
Author: Jan P. Röer
Author: Talia Morstead

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology



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