Did W.B. Yeats have Aspergers Syndrome?

A number of historical figures, including Eamon de Valera, WB Yeats and American artist, Andy Warhol, had Aspergers Syndrome according to Professor Michael Fitzgerald. They all showed signs of Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism in which the person affected generally has a very high IQ, but extremely poor social and communication skills. This is explained in the following books: ‘In Autism and Creativity: Is There a Link between Autism in Men and Exceptional Ability?’ published by Brunner-Routledge and Unstoppable Brilliance, published by Liberties Press. “WB Yeats for example did very poorly at school. He failed to get into Trinity College and was described by his teachers as ‘pedestrian and demoralised’. His parents were told he would never amount to anything”, This is typical of people with Asperger’s syndrome. They do not fit in as they do not relate to others. They are often seen as odd or eccentric and may be bullied at school as a result. Many people in Ireland are thought to have Asperger’s syndrome, with males significantly more likely to develop the condition than females. unstoppable brilliance

Mass Killers – 2 New Books – Can we identify a mass murderer (e.g. pilot, school shooter etc) in advance?

BTB 2 Young Violent and Dangerous to know

These are extremely rare events and it is almost impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy rare events. Nevertheless, we must try but at the same time realise that many of the individual features of the profile I describe about potential mass killers are not rare in the general population. It’s the more overall picture that is relevant.

We must look at:-

1. Medical history pattern deviating from average medical history pattern of pilots, students, military personnel etc

2. Childhood history of being bullied, being a loner, being very routine bound person with special interests in death, perversions, dead animals, serial killers, mass killing, police work, military activities, horror movies, killing of animals, e.g. cats etc showing callous and unemotional trails, moodiness and showing gross lack of empathy, problems reading other people’s minds emotionally, being excessively controlling and dominating, problems with reciprocal social relationships, having sensory problems, noise, taste, touch, being significantly clumsily, being very unpopular in school but having special talents with numbers, mathematics, technology, engineering, construction and logic.

Other features would include poor eye contact, problems reading non-verbal behaviour, problems sharing emotional thoughts, problems turn taking and being very poor at group games. Many or most readers will dismiss this profile as nonsensical. The only answered to them is to ask them to produce a better alternative approach to the problem. Clearly we have to be extremely careful in labelling people inappropriately. If one is totally anti-labelling or identifying potential mass killers then one has to accept the activity of mass killers.

If one hears of a person who is in an average job and who has never performed above the average or indeed less than the average level and they state they will one day be famous and that “everyone will know my name” and they have the profile outlined above then airline management or schools managers or army commanders should ask some questions and explore the background and motive of this person a little more. If in addition to the above profile already described, a person is depressed, has recently experienced stress at his job, has had personal relationship breakup or conflict with his employers or problems with his work performance, is in a position of major responsibility e.g. airline pilot, then they should be examined further, if they make unusual and bizarre statements which could be taken as a joke if one wasn’t listening carefully.

Another scenario is a pupil (almost always male) with the profile described, who shows strange comments on his social media sites, has been bullied (or is being bullied in school), is depressed, ostracised, can’t relate to girls, is a loner, has had an academic crisis or access to guns at home or elsewhere and makes violent threats, these should be investigated by the health and safety officer in school (who should be responsible for gun attacks in school) in conjunction with the management of the school where a thorough investigation should take place. People like the readership keep Adam Lanza, Harold Shipman and Timothy McVey in mind.


1. ‘Autism and School Shooting’ by Michael Fitzgerald has been published in April 2015 in the book ‘Autism Spectrum Disorders – Recent Advances’ by InTech Publishing in a book edited by Michael Fitzgerald.

2. ‘Young Violent and Dangerous to Know’, a book by Michael Fitzgerald was published by Novinka, New York in 2013 and focuses on mass killers and serial killers.

3. A new book called “Psychopathy” published in 2014, edited by Michael Fitzgerald, published by Nova Science, New York, has a chapter on ‘Criminal Autistic Psychopathy’ by Michael Fitzgerald, a not uncommon diagnosis in mass killers.

New Book on Psychopathy edited by Prof. Michael Fitzgerald

Psychopathy: Risk Factors, Behavioral Symptoms and Treatment Options
Psychopathy: Risk Factors, Behavioral Symptoms and Treatment Options
Click to enlarge
Editors: Michael Fitzgerald (Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)
Book Description:
Psychopathy is one of the most serious and challenging conditions that society and mental health professionals face. The consequences of the actions of persons with psychopathy on other individuals or society at large are very great. Persons with psychopathy are extremely difficult to treat and indeed some treatments in the past have been shown to cause deterioration affects. This book explores the issue of psychopathy from the point of view of the individual with psychopathy, brain aspects of the condition, cultural aspects, treatment aspects and it’s relation to autism and other empathy disorder which it can on occasion overlap with.
Offenders with high levels of psychopathy are among the most challenging persons mental health professionals have to treat. They need very careful and skilled interventions. Chromis is an innovative programme described by Tew, Bennett and Atkinson which shows promise. It is a future focused programme which pays attention to control and choice, collaboration and transparency and has a cognitive skills component, a motivation and engagement components. Marc Wilson and Samantha Harley have an interesting chapter on narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. They found a relationship between vertical individualism and all three constructs and between hierarchical and narcissism. Their conclusions suggest that hierarchical, autonomous societies may socialise members in such a way that may foster aversive personalities. Don Ambrose in his chapter on unmeritorious meritorocy focuses on a topic that severely affected almost everyone in the developed world in some way. He highlights the admiration for businessmen with psychopathic traits and the negative consequences of this. In the chapter on criminal autistic psychopathy Fitzgerald highlights the overlap between psychopathy and autism. Hans Asperger in his initial descriptions recognised the overlap between psychopathy and autism with his term autistic psychopathy. This idea faded from view over the last thirty years because there was a wish to separate autism from psychopathy. This wish did not prevent the overlap. Fitzgerald (2010) has introduced the sub group of autism spectrum disorders called criminal autistic psychopathy to cover the section of the spectrum where criminality occurs. It links with the new work on callous and unemotional traits (Fitzgerald 2003) and with mass killings, school and other location shootings where criminal autistic psychopathy is not rare.The chapter on cognitive neuroscience in child and adolescent psychopathy by Halty and Prieto point out among other issues that in the case of children with psychopathic features there is evidence of fewer references to welfare of victims when they have to justify transgressions. The chapter by Halty and Prieto on psychopathy in child and adolescent populations discuss the issue of psychopathy in children and adolescents and the importance of callous and unemotional traits as well as the influence of parenting practices in the development of child and adolescent psychopathy. Laura Nunes’s chapter on psychopathy: risk factors and behavioural symptoms focuses on treatment of options in extremely difficult area and proposes a biogram. In the chapter on Hans Asperger autistic psychopathy revisited focuses on the neglected paper of 1938 long before Leo Kanner wrote his paper on autism. Asperger worked on this topic throughout the 1930’s. It also focuses on the differential diagnosis of autism and schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and other personality disorders. Ana Calzada and colleagues give us a very important chapter on brain scanning and psychopathy. These neuroanatomic differences in violent individuals are very important in terms of aetiology diagnosis and treatment problems and important areas for future research. (Imprint: Nova)References:
Fitzgerald M. (2003) Callous-Unemotional Traits and Asperger’s Syndrome. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 42, 9, 10-11.
Fitzgerald M. (2001) Autistic Psychopathy. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 40, 8, 870.
Fitzgerald M. (2010) Young Violent and Dangerous to Know. Nova Science: New York.
Table of Contents:
PrefaceChapter 1. The Treatment of Offenders with High Levels of Psychopathy through Chromis and the Westgate Service: What have we Learned from the Last Eight Years?
(Jenny Tew, A.L. Bennett and R. Akinson, National Offender Management Service, Ministry of Justice, United Kingdom and The Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England; The Westgate Personality Disorder Treatment Service, HMP Frankland, and National Offender Management Service, Ministry of Justice, UK)Chapter 2. Psychopathy: A Proposal for an Integrated Evaluation
(Laura M. Nunes, Fernando Pessoa University, Oporto / Portugal)Chapter 3. MRI Study in Psychopath and Non-Psychopath Offenders
(Ava Calzada-Reyes, Alfredo Alvarez-Amador, Mitchell Valdes-Sosa, Lester Melic-Garcia, Alonso Y. Aleman and Jose del Carmen Iglesias-Alonso, Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Institute of Legal Medicine, Independence Avenue, Plaza, Havana City; Cuban Center of Neuroscience, Havana City and Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Carlos Juan Finlay, General Hospital, Havana, Cuba)Chapter 4. Unmeritorious Meritocracy: The Ascendance of Psychopathic Plutocracy in the Globalized 21st-Century
(Don Ambrose, Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, US)

Chapter 5. Narcissism, Psychopathy and Machiavellianism: Associations between Cultural Factors and Interpersonal Dominance
(Marc Stewart Wilson and Samantha M. Hartley, School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

Chapter 6. Hans Asperger’s Autistic Psychopathy: Revisited
(Michael Fitzgerald, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 7. Criminal Autistic Psychopathy.
(Michael Fitzgerald, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 8. Stability of Psychopathic Traits in Youth: Long-term Trends and Comparisons with the Stability of the Five Factor Model of Personality
(Mary Ann Campbell, Rosemary Beauregard and Fred Schmidt, Psychology Department & Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of New Brunswick-Saint John Campus, Saint John, New Brunswick; Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Psychology Department, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of New Brunswick-Saint John Campus,
New Brunswick, Canada)

Chapter 9. Disordered Self in Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Autisms and the Self.
(Michael Fitzgerald and Victoria Lyons, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 10. Exploring Treatment Options for an Allegedly “Untreatable” Disorder, Psychopathy: An Integrative Literature Review
(Chasity Bailey, Rahul Sehgal, Adrian Coscia, Deborah Shelton, University of Connecticut, Center for Correctional Health Networks-CCHNet, School of Nursing, CT, USA, and others)


Psychiatry – Theory, Applications and Treatments
   Binding: ebook
   Pub. Date: 2014
   Pages: 7×10 – (NBC-C)
   ISBN: 978-1-63463-090-0
   Status: AN

Recent Activities

Prof Michael Fitzgerald

M. McDermott, M. Duffy, A. Percy, M. Fitzgerald, C. Cole (2013) “A school Based Study of Psychological Disturbance in Children Following the Omagh Bomb” Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 7/36 (peer reviewed)

Fitzgerald. M., (2014) “Overlap Between Autism and Schizophrenia: History and Current Status” Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 8,1,15/23 (peer reviewed)

Not Peer Reviewed Fitzgerald , M., (2013) “Author Response: All Future Psychiatrists Should be Neuro-Psychiatrists” The Psychiatrist, 37,12,404

Appointment on Editorial Board,  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2014

Fitzgerald M., (2012) “Schizophrenia and Autism/Aspergers Syndrome: Overlap and Difference”, Clinical Neuro-Psychology, IX,4,171/176 (peer reviewed)

Skeppar P. Thorr R. Agren S. Skeppar I. Parson B., Fitzgerald M. (2013) “Neuro-developmental Disorders with Co-Morbid Affective Disorders Sometimes Produce Psychiatric Conditions Traditionally Diagnosed as Schizophrenia” Clinical Neuropsychiatry 10 3/4, 123/133(peer reviewed)

Cleary L., Looney I.K. Brady N., Fitzgerald M., (2013) “Inversion Effects in the Perception of the Moving Human Form: a Comparison of Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typically Developing Adolescents” Autism, DOI: 10,1177/136236131349945

Cleary L., Fitzgerald M., Brady N., Gallagher L., (2014) “Holistic Processing of Faces as Measured by the Thatcher Illusion is Intact in Autism Spectrum Disorders” Autism DOI:10.1177/1362361314526005 (peer reviewed)

Fitzgerald M., McNicholas F., (2014) “Attitudes and Practices in the Management of ADHD Among Healthcare Professionals who Responded to a European Survey”  Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine 31,31/37 (peer reviewed)

Not Peer ReviewedFitzgerald M., (2014) “Unfair Playing Field”, Psychiatric Bulletin 38,2,87

(peer reviewed) Caci H., Anderson P., Donfrancisco R., Farone S., Fitzgerald M., Doepfner M., (2014) “Daily Life Impairments Associated with Childhood/Adolescent ADHD as Recalled by Adults: Results from the European Lifetime Impairment Survey” CNS Spectrums, 1/10 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s1092852914000078

Not Peer Reviewed Fitzgerald M, Molneux G.,(2004) “Overlap Between Alexithymia and Aspergers Syndrome”, American Journal of Psychiatry, 161:11, 2134-2135
(peer reviewed) Caci H., Doepfner M., Asherson P., Donfrancesco R., Farone S., Herves A.,  Fitzgerald M., 214 (2013) “Daily Life Impairments Associated with Self/Reported Childhood/Adolescent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and the Experiences of Diagnosis and Treatment: Results from the European Lifetime Impairment Survey”  European Psychiatry, 29,316/323

Vincent van Gogh Mood disorder and Asperger’s syndrome.

The evidence for Vincent van Gogh’s mood disorder has been extremely well documented.  This article suggests that in addition he had a dual diagnosis that is Asperger’s disorder as well.  He had an unhappy early life and had behaviour problems in childhood. His father was described as being as cold as iron by A. J. Lubin.  Even as a child he was a strange person and could not cope with normal school. He showed evidence of severe social impairment. In a way he was like an alien on earth. He had a wish for good social interactions but was unable to achieve them.  He was very much a loner. He was also an outsider.  He alienated people.  This was not deliberate but he did not know how to win them over. He was regarded as an eccentric.  He was a workaholic and narrowly focussed on his art. He read books incessantly. He had significant non-verbal behaviour problems.

According to Lubin he often dressed in rags.  He had strange dietary habits.  He was not a fluent speaker.  His suicide was likely to be due to his mood disorder and his Asperger’s syndrome.  Suicide is not rare in these two conditions.  Alternative explanations of his problems have been presented like Meniere’s disease and acute intermittent porphyria but these are not likely as explanations. One of the difficulties in psychiatry is that once a diagnosis is made for example Mood Disorder additional diagnosis like Asperger’s syndrome are then not considered. Mood problems are common in patients with Asperger’s syndrome.

Andy Warhol and Konrad Lorenz: Two Persons with Asperger’s Syndrome

Andy Warhol and Konrad Lorenz are two persons with Asperger’s syndrome.  The diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome is important in Adult Psychiatry because it can be confused with schizophrenia.  Asperger’s syndrome cannot be scientifically and clearly differentiated from High Functioning Autism and the diagnosis are used interchangeably. Similarities between the two conditions include difficulties in interpersonal relationships, problems in non-verbal communication, narrow repetitive routines and interests.  In Asperger’s syndrome there is no clinically significant general delay in language according to DSM-IV although this criterion is now highly controversial as language difficulties of one sort or another are often seen particularly of the semantic pragmatic variety.  It has also been suggested that the persons with Asperger’s syndrome have a later onset of problems and are diagnosed at a later stage and can show in a minority of persons significant antisocial behaviour.  Indeed for the majority of persons with Asperger’s syndrome very high moral behaviour is a characteristic.  Whatever about the similarities or differences between High Functioning Autism (and there are more similarities) or Asperger’s syndrome the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is currently the most accurate diagnosis.


Andy Warhol is a classic person with Asperger’s syndrome. Andy Warhol was born in 1928 and died in 1987.  He was one of the most famous artists of the 20th century and his most famous saying was ‘In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’. He had an eccentric father which is not uncommon in this situation and was bullied at school which is also very common in this situation.  His mother was even more eccentric than his father.  His mother would make statements like ‘I am Andy Warhol’. His art could be extremely repetitive something that’s typical in persons with Asperger’s syndrome.  An example here is the Campbell soup can.  He particularly liked screenpainting which provided him with a quick and easy way of indulging his penchant for repetition.  He had enormous deficits in interpersonal skills and was to a large extent socially incompetent.  Like many people with Asperger’s syndrome he did want to make close relationships but lacked ‘know-how’.  He stalked Truman Capote.  He experienced himself as an alien like Temple Grandin another famous person with this condition.  He clearly had a very narrow obsessive interest in art.  He was a workaholic.  He was an obsessive collector and a great deal of what he bought he never took out of the wrapping paper.  He was a singular person.  He had an autistic mechanical mind.  He loved machines of all sorts.  He had the typical high-pitched tone of voice persons with Asperger’s syndrome have. He had an immature personality. He was very naïve. He had the classic motor clumsiness of Asperger’s syndrome and suffered a great deal from anxiety.  His fear of hospitals meant that he delayed going to hospital when he developed acute abdomen and he died soon after the operation.


The late Konrad Lorenz the animal behaviour researcher was born in 1903.  Asperger’s syndrome helps to explain some of his actions in his life.  He was addicted to animals and the study of animal behaviour. He is famous for his research on imprinting.  An interest in nature is particularly not uncommon in persons with Asperger’s syndrome. He was very lucky to have a supportive wife as he had what is now called an ‘Asperger type’ marriage where the wife supports, contains, and grounds the person with Asperger’s syndrome.  Lorenz tended to speak in monologues.  He was an autodictat.  He showed evidence of significant interpersonal difficulties and lack of empathy for people.  This didn’t stop him being a great ethnologist.  He also suffered from mood swings.  Control was very important to him.  He was both a collector and very much in scientific terms a systematizer.  His first fascination was with the Jackdaw and later he became fascinated with fish and with ducks.  While he served in the German army during the 2nd World War and was accused of being a Nazi but I don’t think that he was a Nazi. It was his Asperger’s syndrome and naivety that made him write about degeneracy in men of other races.  Leon Eisenberg accused him of his writing been ‘redolent of concentration camps’.  He was not a racist but he was extremely naïve.  Konrad Lorenz in reply to Leon Eisenberg’s criticism stated “the 1940 paper tried to tell the Nazi’s that domestication was much more dangerous than any alleged mixture of races”.  During the war Lorenz worked as a neurologist in a psychiatric unit.  Later in life Konrad Lorenz was equally naïve in accepting the Schiller Prize from a neo-Nazi group.  Konrad Lorenz was politically naïve about the implication of these matters and was not a Nazi.  He was a person with Asperger’s syndrome.