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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

AUTISTIC DISORDER

Initially described as an emotional disorder caused by inadequate mothering (Bettelheim, 1967), autism is now well established as having a biological basis and is classified as the most severe of the developmental disabilities (Mesibov, Adams, & Klinger, 1998).

AUTOMATICITY.

There has long been consensus on the qualities of conscious information processing: it is characterized by its intentionality and controllability: the individual is generally aware of conscious processes: and they are highly consumptive of attentional resources and so can occur only serially, one at a time in sequence. Historically, automatic information processing has been defined as that which is “not conscious”: that is, in contradistinction to conscious or controlled information processing. Thus, automatic processes were described as being unintentional, uncontrollable, efficient, and to occur outside of awareness.

Historically two different forms of “not conscious” or automatic processes have been studied-those that follow immediately upon the perception of a person, object, or event in the environment (preconscious automaticity), and those that do not require conscious guidance once started intentionally (goal-dependent automaticity).


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