Did Einstein Show Asperger’s Traits?
Psychological traits of historical figures cast light on current diagnoses.
Did Einstein have some traits of Asperger’s Syndrome, also viewed as a high-functioning segment of the autistic spectrum? That’s one intriguing possibility along with details and speculations about Howard Hughes showing obsessive-compulsive behavior, Lincoln coping with melancholy, Darwin with anxiety, and Andy Warhol leaving evidence of compulsive hoarding in the engrossing new book Was Andy Warhol a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities(link is external) by noted science journalist Claudia Kalb.
Renewed interest in Albert Einstein arises at the same time as the discovery of gravitational waves in February 2016 confirmed his prediction of 100 years ago, and is also coincident with a growing interest in Autistic Spectrum Disorder, in particular the high-functioning type elsewhere described as Asperger’s Syndrome, marked among other things by difficulty with social cues and an intense focus on narrow interests. His intense focus on arcane scientific topics, disregard for social conventions in childhood such as respect for his teachers, and sometimes unkempt appearance are some of the characteristics the author described.