Why do some children fail to communicate?

Professor Dame Uta Frith, Cognitive Neuroscientist

Watch Professor Dame Frith tell the story of how she used experimental psychology to help her understand autistic children and develop the mind blindness theory.

STEM Role Model: Professor Dame Uta Frith, Cognitive Neuroscientist | 20 minute video

Highlights include:

  • Her experience as a German in post-WWII London (1:00)

  • What is autism? (3:18)

  • Meeting her first autistic child, David (4:25)

  • A theory for the failure to interact or communicate (6:26)

  • Mind Blindness (8:02)

  • The Sally-Anne Test (10:11)

Scientist Q&A

The Rosalind Franklin STEM Ambassadors interviewed Professor Dame Frith after her talk. Watch her respond to their questions in the videos below. Visit the Q&A page for more scientist interviews!

What is your advice to women in science whose novel ideas are frowned upon? | 2 minute video

How have the advances in technology impacted the way you research? | 2 minute video

I am confident that research will progress and best of all it may be some of you who will continue to ask the questions and whether or not you find answers, it will be an exciting journey.
— Uta Frith

Looking for resources to use in the classroom or your STEM club?

Check out The Rosalind Franklin STEM Ambassadors Teacher Toolkit for everything from classroom ready lessons on STEM Role Models to science communication skills tasters.




Uta Frith began her science career studying experimental psychology in Germany. She continued her training in clinical psychology and completed a Doctor of Philosophy on pattern detection in normal and autistic children. Dr Frith is known for her pioneering research on theory of mind deficit in autism and as one of the first to study Asperger's syndrome in the UK.

Uta Frith nerdy Quote.jpg

People of Science with Brian Cox and Uta Frith: Alice Lee | 4 minute video

Science Communication Star!

Watch Brian Cox and Professor Frith discuss Alice Lee, whose work in craniology challenged the idea that women were intellectually inferior because they have smaller brain sizes.

Every gardener knows that growing is a messy, unpredictable business and brains are grown and not built.
— Professor Dame Uta Frith