Dr John Lawson

Senior Lecturer in Psychology


John is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. He joined Brookes in September 2005. He lectures on social psychology, developmental psychology, psychopathology, philosophy of science and methodology.


BA Social & Developmental Psychology, University of Cambridge,

PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge,

Senior Research Associate, Autism Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge

Fellow (Director of Studies for Social and Political Science), Girton College, Cambridge.


(Coming soon)


John's research is centred on the autism spectrum. He has developed a new cognitive model to conceptualise the spectrum that manages to synthesis the three dominant models in the area. The new model gives rise to a host of implications and issues that encompass three main areas 1) the autism spectrum 2) sex differences in the general population 3) the effect of a male bias towards a particular kind of cognitive style on the development of social structures and value systems.

Selected Publications

Lawson, J. (in prep) Gender difference in moral reasoning: Evidence from Autism. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. Blackwell

Lawson, J. (in prep) The Role of Autism in Shaping Society, Routledge

Lawson, J. & Baron-Cohen, S. (in prep) Code Breaking: Another test of Systemising in adults with Asperger syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Plenum Press

Lawson, J. & Baron-Cohen, S. (in prep) Everyday Tendencies: New directions in exploring the empathising and systemising model of autism spectrum conditions. Autism. Sage

Lawson, J. (2007) Economics and Autism: why the drive towards closure? In Contributions to Social Ontology, J. Latsis, C. Lawson, N. Martin Eds. Routledge.

Lawson, J. (2007) Conceptualizacion del espectro autista: sistemas abiertos y cerrados y las implicaciones terapeuticas. In D. Garcia-Villamiser (Ed.) El Autismo en Personas Adultas: Nuevas Perspectivas de Futuro, Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Social, Espanol.

Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Lawson, J., Griffin, R. & Ashwin, C. (2005) Empathising and systemising in autism spectrum conditions. In F. Volkmar, A. Klin, & Paul, R. (Eds.), Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders - 3rd edition. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Lawson, J., Baron-Cohen, S., & Wheelwright, S. (2004) Empathising and Systemising in adults with and without autism spectrum conditions. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Plenum Press p 301-310

Lawson, J. (2003) Depth Accessibility Difficulties: An alternative conceptualisation of Autism Spectrum Conditions. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. Blackwell p189-202

Baron-Cohen, S. Wheelwright, S., Griffin, R., Lawson, J. and Hill, J. The Exact Mind: Empathising and Systemising in autism spectrum conditions. In Handbook of Cognitive Development, U. Goswami, Ed. Blackwell, 2002 p491-508

Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Scahill, V., Lawson, J. and Spong, A. (2001) Are intuitive physics and intuitive psychology independent? A test with children with Asperger syndrome, Journal of Developmental and Learning Disorders 5:47-78



(Module Leader*)

U24102: Foundations of Social Psychology*

U24104: Foundations of Developmental Psychology*

U24103 Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics

U24121 Abnormal Psychology

U24125 Individual Differences

U24137 Empirical Investigations

U24180 Explanatory Concepts


P24109 Theory and Methods in Research

P24112 Development of Language, Memory & Cognition

P24113 Social and Educational Aspects of Development

Publications from RADAR

  • Lawson, J (2009) The role of autism in shaping society. [summary page]
  • Lawson, J (0) Gender difference in moral reasoning: Evidence from Autism.. Journal for the theory of social behaviour [summary page]
John Lawson


+44 (0)1865 483787