Talk:Simon Baron-Cohen

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Ongoing sourcing issues[edit]

It seems that no matter how many times (over the years) I flag problems, the same keeps recurring. From this series of edits, the most (only?) useful addition is the wikilink to Molecular Autism and the (incorrectly cited) BPS link. The rest add primary sources, links to, or other non-reliable or primary sources that do not verify text. It is time to start chopping this text back and then enforce new additions to correctly cited secondary sources; I have cleaned up this article and flagged back sourcing too many times to count. First, if sourcing something to a book, we need a full citation including a page number, not an link. Second, if we are going to make claims about SBC's theories they should not be self-cited. Third, adding another primary source to what has already been flagged as primary-sourced doesnt' help. Fourth, PubMed searches are not sources.

I suggest reverting it all because cleaning up is too time-consuming.

As samples, a BLP on a prominent physician should look something like Donald J. Cohen; notice please that his accomplishments are not cited to self, rather to independent sources.

A book citation would look something like this:

  • Kushner, HI (2000). A cursing brain? The histories of Tourette syndrome. Harvard University Press. p. 182. ISBN 0-674-00386-1. 

Minsk101, you plow ahead with more of same; please stop and engage talk. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:48, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

I've added some secondary sources where I can find them.Minsk101 (talk) 09:00, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
Since I posted to Minsk101's talk,[1] the following continued:
You're right. I can't find anything that says he established the clinic in 1999 either. Still looking.Minsk101 (talk) 09:00, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
Those are the edits made only while I had dinner; Minsk101 please engage on talk, as this kind of editing is very time consuming. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:34, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I have now left my fifth message at User talk:Minsk101 asking that s/he engage the talk page.[2] There are similar messages there from three other editors. Since leaving my last message, Minsk101 did not respond to article talk (has never once posted to article talk), continued to add poorly sourced text, and cherry picked favorable quotes from reviews. Now that I've seen those reviews, it is abundantly clear that we have secondary sources for most of the text here, putting SBC's theories in perspective, and there is no reason for the continuing POV resulting from cherry picking of primary sources and selective quotes from reviews. I am suggesting that this is clear COI editing, and Minsk101 should be banned from page editing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:20, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Hi SandyGeorgia. I think you've done a great job rebuilding this article. I've tried to leave your version as untouched as possible but I hope you think I've added in some useful extra material. In particular, there was no mention of the Mindblindness book, or the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test, or the Prenatal Testosterone in Mind book. I confess I still haven't figured out how to make the citations not what you call Bare URLs so apologies for this! I'm going to try to learn how to do this, so please bear with me. If you or any other editor can tell me the trick or point me to where to find help on this that would be great. As you can see I've also added in a little more detail about the Eindhoven study.Minsk101 (talk) 01:27, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
The Mindblindness book is right here; the text you added about the questionnaires was original research (not supported by the sources), and I have explained all of the other issues with more original research I the edits you made in a new section below. Once again, because you continue to insert original research or sources that don't support the text you include, while you are still learning to edit and use sources correctly, it would be expedient if you would start a new section at the bottom of the page, propose the sources you want incorporated, propose text, and observe how other editors use secondary sources to add new text. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:11, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
This is a reply to SandyGeorgia, specifically this portion:

"As samples, a BLP on a prominent physician should look something like Donald J. Cohen; notice please that his accomplishments are not cited to self, rather to independent sources."

SandyGeorgia, you are correct. Keep in mind though, that the subject of this BLP is not a physician according to the article itself. His credentials are a BA in Human Sciences, an MPhil in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Psychology. Simon Baron-Cohen is not a medical doctor, but rather a psychologist. This is borne out by his society fellowships, which the article describes as being in social science, not medical nor biological sciences. Regardless of the specifics of Baron-Cohen's advanced degrees, I agree with everything you mentioned, as legitimate points of concern regarding insertions of original research, self-citations, Amazon dot com links and popular culture (e.g. IMDB) in this BLP article. If I ever feel sufficiently motivated, I would recommend the addition of a controversies section, as there are plenty of challenges, or to be less contentious, let's call them updates by others, to Baron-Cohen's initial Theory of Mind paper published in 1985.--FeralOink (talk) 04:53, 31 July 2016 (UTC)


The antics at this article have gone on for at least five years, it has never been an adequately cited BLP, and leaving it in a tagged state while the main editors fail to collaborate is not a good situation. We are WP:NOT a CV webhost. Main editors of this article have written SBC's CV as they know it, and then attempted to retroactively cite the content they want reflected, rather than locate good secondary sources and write from them. Attempts to get this article edited according to guideline and policy have not been successful, and the issues have recurred throughout the entire history of this article. This has gone on long enough; I am removing the long poorly cited content, and suggest that the article be built from this point correctly based on due weight given to secondary sources.

My reductions leave the article correctly cited and in a cleaner state as a better starting point for building it correctly. The only tags remaining are:

  • The Publications section needs to be cleaned up. The formatting is inconsistent, book titles should be italized, ISBNs are missing, and per WP:NOT, the list should be pruned to the most notable. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:48, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The book reviews are unbalanced.

We have ample secondary sources; re-build from them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:48, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

I've cleaned up the publications section, except the ISBN finder is down today, so ISBNs are still lacking. On the journal articles, I've left his three most widely cited articles. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:44, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
See discussions above, I have now added some balance to the book reviews, and removed the tag; more could be done, but at least at this state, we have a tag-free article.[3] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:15, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

More of same after article cleanup[edit]

Minsk101 it has been pointed out multiple times that you add text that is not verified by sources given. Even after multiple warnings and a lot of discussion here on talk, you continue:

  1. The source does not say he was Vice-President in 2009. It says "he has been", not when.
  2. This source does not say Baron-Cohen developed the test; it doesn't even mention his name.
  3. I have multiple times pointed out that citations go after punctuation (see WP:FN), except for dashes.[4]
  4. By now, you should be able to format sources and not expect others to do it for you. You have again added three bare URLs: one a primary source, one a blog, and one that doesn't verify the text added.
  5. This source does not mention 2002: [5]
  6. Here, you used an article written by SBC to make a claim about his work-- that is a primary source: "Baron-Cohen's work in systemising-empathising revealed significant sex differences on average between typical males and females, and led him to investigate whether higher levels of foetal testosterone explain the increased prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among males;[1]" To make claims about his findings, that should be independently sourced.

I've removed the problematic edits. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:04, 3 January 2014 (UTC)


I've been working through the different sources presented here, adding in text as I can, but I just hit:

This article is so full of criticism of SBC's numerous theories and research methods, that it is hard to work in anything that isn't wholly negative. Would someone else who has access to that article like to give it a try? I'm going to stop now for a bit. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:42, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Just to say - although I thought this article was behind a paywall, if you click the DOI link there's a free-to-view rendition there ... Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 18:03, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
I have been unable so far (using Google search) to find any positive comments about Baron-Cohen's work from fellow researchers and scientists. Such comments in the Buchen article are negative, and not all of them are presently used in the article (Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Jarrold and David Routh, John Constantino, and Catherine Lord are not included). Liz Pellicano's study on whether autistic children were systematic got a result the opposite of what Baron-Cohen's theory predicts.
There appears to be some supporting research to the notion that autism traits may be inherited, see
You could keep looking, but to my knowledge, you won't find any :) And thus, you see the problems with this article. The Minsk's et al want to use Baron-Cohen's own primary studies to make claims about Baron-Cohen in his BLP, which end up amounting to POV, for reasons explained pretty well by Buchen. That is why I held off on adding text from the Buchen article-- wanted others to have a look, but Buchen has done a good job of explaining what is pretty well understood by those who know autism research. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:24, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
I think right now we've got a pretty good mix of positive and critical elements and a version we can try to keep stable until new material needs to be added as new events occur. -- Diannaa (talk) 17:00, 4 January 2014 (UTC)


I just found an article where Baron-Cohen has published a paper showing a link between a variation in the GABRB3 gene and autism. Here is an independent source covering the story and here is a link to the abstract. I am not sure what's the best way to add the content, as I don't usually edit medical articles. Could you check it out please Sandy? -- Diannaa (talk) 17:22, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Diannaa Yes, this example highlights the problems nicely. Baron-Cohen happens to be co-editor[6] of that particular journal (according to a source called Wikipedia :), and so what we have is a potential COI, primary study and a laypress report of it. Not good on any front, and not the kind of thing we should be adding to any article. SBC gets good laypress coverage; I believe Buchen discusses that. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:44, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Baron-Cohen happens to be co-editor of that particular journal is not something I would have known without your help. Thanks so much for your input. -- Diannaa (talk) 17:48, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
You're welcome :) Also, biosciencetechnology is part of advantagemedia and are likely (not sure) one of those media sources that relies on press releases from the original researchers (the New York Times may be a bad press source, but these kinds may be even worse in terms of lack of investigative reporting). After 20 years of following research on neuropsychiatric conditions in children, one learns their way around, as well as who's who in autism research. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:52, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

The Essential Difference[edit]

I have removed the section titled The Essential Difference; it's a collection of book reviews that would be better suited to an article about the book, and would be unlikely to be included even there. Feedback welcome -- Diannaa (talk) 05:20, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Buchen surfaced recently, and it has so much newer and more general information
that the older book reviews don't add much more. But because I came to it last, and it has so much material, Buchen hasn't been worked in yet. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 06:05, 3 January 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Geeky was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

April 2015 edits[edit]

Regarding the following edits:

  1. The text is in the article; perhaps the editor who removed did not access the full article, which requires a subscription.
  2. Removal of text cited to Time magazine.
  3. Primary source used to refute secondary reviews, and removal of more cited text.
  4. Removal of more cited text, which (along with other removals) introduces POV.
  5. A deletion of more cited text, introduction of another primary source with the claim that Baron-Cohen does not use this term (familiarity with the subject of the bio, COI?).

I've restored the cited text, removing the primary source. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:46, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

  • There was another edit about Gary McKinnon which I have reverted as the text seems quite accurate. There's plenty more information about this out there but the current content seems adequate. Andrew D. (talk) 07:10, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
let's discuss this:

In 2008, he confirmed the Asperger syndrome diagnosis of Gary McKinnon, the British computer hacker accused of breaking into United States military and NASA computer networks.[1]


  1. ^ "Profile: Gary McKinnon". BBC News. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
First, fwiw i went and looked at the Gary McKinnon article to see how the diagnosis was discussed there. I just removed that section from the article and opened a Talk discussion of this there. Seems to be a BLP issue to me, as a lot of this was popular media reporting on statements made in the context of litigation and efforts to avoid extradiction; i am not sure our discussion of that is appropriate and well sourced. This content has the same problems and on top of that, Baron-Cohen never met the guy - this seems pretty clear talking-head armchair diagnosis. I could see there maybe something like "Simon-Cohen participated in public discussions about Gary McKinnon's health" or something like that. Even that seems to be kind of trivial... interested in others' thoughts on this. Jytdog (talk) 12:49, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

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