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Francesca Happé

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, King's College London

Francesca Happé is the director of the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.

She studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford, and did her PhD on autism at UCL. Her research interests centre on autism and Asperger Syndrome. She has conducted research into the nature of social understanding in typical development, and ‘mind-reading’ impairments in autism spectrum conditions. She is also actively engaged in studies of abilities and assets in people with autism, and their relation to detail-focused perceptual and cognitive style.

As well as cognitive methods, her research involves functional imaging studies, exploration of acquired brain lesions and, most recently, behaviour genetic methods. She is the author of numerous research papers, and a book on autism for general readers. She won the Telegraph’s Young Science Writer award, and has taken part in many documentaries, as well as being the subject of a Channel 4 programme for schools. The British Psychological Society awarded her the Spearman Medal, and the Experimental Psychology Society named her as the recipient of the 7th EPS Prize.


  • –present
    Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, King's College London