Charles Darwin was autistic, claims leading psychiatrist

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London, Feb 18 (ANI): Charles Darwin, the author of On the Origin of Species, had a form of autism which is related to creativity and originality, claims a leading psychiatrist.

According to Prof Michael Fitzgerald of Dublin's Trinty College, Darwin had an extraordinary attention to detail but had difficulties with social interaction.

Prof Fitzgerald reckons that Darwin was suffering from a behavioural disorder.

The researcher will tell the annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Faculty of Academic Psychiatry that Darwin was probably suffering from Asperger's syndrome.

"It is suggested that the same genes that produce autism and Asperger's syndrome are also responsible for great creativity and originality," the Telegraph quoted the professor, as saying.

"Asperger's syndrome gave Darwin the capacity to hyperfocus, the extra capacity for persistence, the enormous ability to see detail that other people missed, the endless energy for a lifetime dedication to a narrow task, and the independence of mind so critical to original research," he added.

Prof Fitzgerald believes that Darwin was a solitary child, and his emotional immaturity and fear of intimacy extended to adulthood.

Professor Fitzgerald said: "Darwin had a massive capacity to observe, to introspect and to analyse. From adolescence he was a massive systematiser, initially of insects and other specimens which he catalogued. He had a tremendously visual brain.

"He spent eight years studying barnacles, and wrote books on his observations of earthworms and even his own children. He was a rather obsessive-compulsive and ritualistic man.

"Creativity is extremely complex, and so far no theory or model of brain function has been able to explain it fully. But I hope that future progress in understanding the basis of autism may lead to a better understanding of autistic creativity and creativity in general." (ANI)

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