Vernon Smith is a Harvard Ph.D. and a professor of Economics at Chapman University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. He has authored or co-authored over 250 books and articles on finance and experimental economics. Vernon is without a doubt an extraordinary person with extraordinary achievements that he attributes to traits that some say are associated with Asperger’s.
Smith scores high on the Asperger’s diagnostic test. He realized that such a diagnosis might apply to himself after reading and studying as an economist: "Theory of Mind Mechanism," "Intentionality Detection" and related theories of brain function modules.
In considering this literature, Smith says he discovered that he could relate in many ways to people with Asperger’s syndrome and that it opened his eyes to
the possibility that he might have some of its features.
Smith received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Caltech in 1949; an M.A. in economics from the University of Kansas in 1952; and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1955. He has written several books on capital theory, finance, natural resource economics and experimental economics.
In an interview with CNBC Smith speaks openly about what he calls the deficiencies and the selective advantages of Asperger's. “I can switch out and go into a concentrated mode and the world is completely shut out,” he said in a recent interview. “If I'm writing something, nothing else exists.”
Smith received the Nobel Prize in 2002 for helping to develop the field of experimental economics, which uses laboratory methods to test economic theories. Smith says his capacity for deep concentration contributed to his ability to win the Nobel Prize.
In the interview with CNBC Smith says that certain mental deficiencies may actually have some selective advantages in terms of activities. "We've lost a lot of the barriers that have to do with skin color and with various other characteristics. But there's still not sufficient recognition of mental diversities. And we don't all have to think alike to be communal and to live in a productive and satisfying world."