Skip links

“Different in the head –
neurodiversity as a strength” –
The documentary broadcast in May!

Autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in their milder forms and in the right context, have a benefit that is rooted in evolutionary history.


It is not a single “healthy” functioning of the brain, but mental diversity – neurodiversity – that is the model for humanity’s success. Our society sets the course for whether this potential is utilised or manifests itself as illness.

Almost one in three people will suffer from a mental illness requiring treatment in the course of their lives. The number of sick days resulting from this has doubled in the last ten years.


Even state-of-the-art methods such as magnetic resonance imaging and genetic research have not significantly improved our understanding of mental illness in recent decades. The development of psychotropic drugs has also made little progress. A look back to the Stone Age could revolutionise research: Instead of looking for errors in biological processes of the brain, a new approach looks for the evolutionary functions of mental peculiarities, because they exist for a reason. If channelled in the right direction, they can become an enrichment for the community, as examples from prehistory show. In some areas, they still do today: from manic-depressive creative geniuses to autistic high-flyers in the IT sector. (Text: 3sat)


© 3sat/Matthias Schwinn