Understanding Developmental Disorders: A Causal Modelling Approach / Edition 1

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Overview

This long-awaited and ground-breaking book from cognitive scientist John Morton helps to clarify the very nature of developmental disorders. It challenges the basis of standard behaviourally based diagnostic practice, showing how the role of biology and cognition is crucial to understanding the underlying nature of these disorders. It also sets out a clear method for assessing and comparing the many alternative theories.

An understanding of developmental disorders depends on being able to address the issue of cause and on making the link between disorder and normal process. These were the driving forces behind the emergence of the causal modelling methodology at the Cognitive Development Unit in London by the author and his colleague Uta Frith. John Morton elucidates this method and uses it ruthlessly to compare different theories of particular developmental disorders and to pinpoint their weaknesses. The result is a book that will have a profound impact on research and thinking in the fields of psychology, neuroscience and medicine.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What causes disorders of development? How can they be meaningfully defined? These questions have resulted in deeply entangled controversies. John Morton has provided a razor-sharp tool that cuts the Gordian knot. This tool uses a simple pictorial notation that leaves aside ambiguous and divisive words. It resolves entrenched but illusory oppositions between cognition and brain and between nature and nurture. It makes the confusing facts about autism, dyslexia, and other disorders fall into a new coherent pattern and invigorates the comparison of different points of view. This book is indispensable for anyone trying to understand cognitive development and its disorders." Uta Frith, Professor of Cognitive Development, University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

"In his compelling book, Understanding Developmental Disorders, John Morton applies a causal modeling approach to understanding the influences that biological, cognitive, behavioral, and environmental factors exert on the emergence of developmental disorders. Morton eloquently conveys a way of conceptualizing various theories of developmental disorders. This volume will provide an invaluable tool for students, practitioners, and those in academia. I highly recommend it as a must for all professionals striving to understand the origins and course of developmental disorders." Dante Cicchetti, Ph.D., Director, Mt. Hope Family Center

"Causal modelling of cognition is a new and original tool not only for thinking with precision about cognitive development and the ways in which it can go amiss; I can see this book having a revolutionary impact on developmental psychology. The causal-modelling framework is also valuable for exposing the kind of sloppy thinking about the causes of developmental difficulties that one sees so often in statements by journalists and politicians (the book contains many such examples). Simply and cogently written, this book is of great importance both for scientists in developmental psychology and for public-health professionals concerned with disorders such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia." Prof Max Coltheart, Scientific Director, Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Australia

"John Morton's deep and wonderful book should be required reading for any serious student of cognitive development, as well as for any researcher concerned with developmental disabilities. In giving us a tool for thinking about the causal history of developmental disabilities, he offers profound insights into the nature of causality, the relations among different levels of analysis, and the causes of four developmental syndromes, including autism and dyslexia." Susan Carey, Professor, Harvard University

"Morton's lucid and highly readable book offers an excellent tool to clarify the field of developmental disorders as it stands and to point the way to the future." Trends in Cognitive Sciences, August 2005

"Morton writes from first principles but then, as the book progresses, assumes some psychological sophistication. He has a comfortable and conversational...style that has become unusual in scientific writing. It invites reflection, questioning and discussion and I found it well suited to putting across concepts." Tom Berney, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, May 2006

“Morton’s causal modeling approach seems an innovative and insightful advance in examining and understanding the causes and diagnosis of pathologic conditions.” Psychological Record

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631187585
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/24/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

John Morton is the former Director of the Medical Research Council’s Cognitive Development Unit. He is now Visiting Professor in the Department of Psychology and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introducing cause 1
Ch. 2 Introducing cognition 20
Ch. 3 Representing causal relationships : technical and formal considerations 34
Ch. 4 Autism : how causal modelling started 67
Ch. 5 The what and the how 98
Ch. 6 Competing causal accounts of autism 106
Ch. 7 The problem of diagnosis 133
Ch. 8 A causal analysis of dyslexia 161
Ch. 9 The hyperkinetic confusions 208
Ch. 10 Theories of conduct disorder 227
Ch. 11 Tying in biology 247
Ch. 12 To conclude 270
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