Asked by: Peter, Fakenham
Autism is a neurodevelopment condition found in humans, and some of the diagnostic criteria, such as a delay in language development, can’t apply in a straightforward way to animals.
That said, some animals do display autistic-like traits, such as a tendency toward repetitive behaviour or atypical social habits. Bull terriers, for example, are especially prone to repetitive tail chasing, which some experts liken to the spinning that is sometimes seen in children with autism.
Dr Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist, science writer and author. He is the Deputy Editor of Psyche, the sister magazine to Aeon that illuminates the human condition through psychology, philosophy and the arts. Jarrett also created the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog and was the first ever staff journalist on the Society's magazine, The Psychologist. He is author of Great Myths of The Brain and Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change.