Observing human behavior like animal behavior

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animallover
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29 Dec 2004, 1:14 am

I had this revelation today - that if I am puzzled by a human behavior I should observe it just like I would an animal . . .
I find humans to be completely unpredictable, but animals to be completely predictable . . .

So, today I was out with one of my favorite people to be around - and you need some background for this story to make sence . . .
I've had a REALLLLLLLY hard time mentally and emotionally for about the last two years - and DeeJay, who is who I was out with today, has really helped me through a lot of it - and one of the things that I've done with his help is to really confront my mother about her alcoholism/prescription drug abuse . . .
Anyway, I've thought she was destroying her brain with this for a long time and a few days ago she told me that her Dr. thought she had either had strokes or the early stages of Alzheimer's - but she still isn't tying this into alchol/drug abuse . . .

ANYWAY, I told DeeJay about this and he looked at me and immedately put his shoulders back and put his right hand, knuckles down, on the table with all the muscles in his arm flexed - and I thought 'What a strange gesture - I've never seen him, or anyone else, do anything like that before . . .' and I thought about how humans are just ugly primates and I wondered what I would think if I saw a dominant male gorilla or a chimpanzee make the same gesture - and I realized it would be in defense - protection - so I thought - he doesn't like that idea - he's protecting himself from it - and probably me, too . . .
So I proceeded with that line of thought and it seemed to fit what he was feeling because his next comment was a sarcastic 'Well - isn't that convient . . .' meaning that she is trying to get me to let my guard down . . .

Anyway, I'm going to try this interpreting human behavior like great apes for a while and see how it works . . .
The big exception to this would be smiling, of course - as that is a VERY aggressive gesture by most primates . . .



JennieRichee
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29 Dec 2004, 2:55 am

Ha. I can relate to that. Several times I've been totally baffled by an incident of human interaction until later I've seen the same thing on a nature documentary about chimps, or wolves or whatever. :wink:



Wowbagger
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29 Dec 2004, 3:16 am

Can relate to all that as well. The late evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton (probably an autist, as he admits) also described himself as observing humans as he would animals. To me humans are not that much different from animals, just more conceited about their supposed intelligence.



vetivert
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29 Dec 2004, 3:54 am

good point, animallover - that's just what i do, although i observe in trms of human behavioural psychology, rather than animal.

i think this is probably what NTs do as well, in some respects, but they do it unconsciously rather than consciously. it just takes us a bit longer to process. i have to remember to do it.



Mel
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29 Dec 2004, 5:23 am

vetivert wrote:
good point, animallover - that's just what i do, although i observe in trms of human behavioural psychology, rather than animal.

i think this is probably what NTs do as well, in some respects, but they do it unconsciously rather than consciously. it just takes us a bit longer to process. i have to remember to do it.


Me too- I think this is why it took us a while to realise that I was AS too. Dunc could see me 'understanding' motives behind people's behaviour and I didn't realise that NT people didn't have to work as hard as I do to process this information.

I also have to admit that when I read between the lines of what people say I'm usually way off- I go on how people have treated me in the past, rather than actually understanding what they mean now. And my self-esteem issues make me assume the worst.

Mel



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29 Dec 2004, 6:24 am

That is a good observation, animallover.

I don't do the same thing, usually I observe present situations and compare them to past ones involving the same person. As you can probably guess, this is quite limiting when I am dealing with someone who I do not know well, or when someone I know well is acting differently from normal.

From your description, I pictured your friend flexing his muscles, which I've seen bodybuilders do, and makes me think of strength, and possibly aggression. I suppose that is not too far off the mark, but in the situation itself, it may not have been so great of a guess.

I will attempt your technique, and see how it goes :) .



Absolute_Zero
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29 Dec 2004, 11:28 am

I see it too. My main reasons for being happy with the way I am is that I don't want to act like a monkey or rabbit. There are lots of people out there looking for instant thrills and then what happens to them? They get off and then they get depressed and the whole cycle begins all over again.

Right now we have these hoards of people who are depressed and in debt over christmas. I bought stuff for people all over the summer and fall so it wasn't a big deal for me. Sometimes it just seems like it's a big herd of sheep and we are sitting back wondering why they act so simple.



tallgirl
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29 Dec 2004, 2:05 pm

I learned at a very young age that I need to observe NT's like they were in the zoo. That is the only way I could even begin to guess what their meanings were.

I still do that to this day. It is the only way I think I survive interactions and parties.

I told my husband that I did this and he thought that made me sound like a cold person, but I told him that NT's body language and how they say one thing, yet mean another and everyone else seems to figure this out but me makes Nts fascinating.

Tallgirl



AspieGirl
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29 Dec 2004, 3:08 pm

Excellent idea! Especially since we (humans) ARE great apes. :wink:

I am always astounded at how similar chimps and humans are in behavioral terms -- and, I don't mean that as any sort of insult to people. We are apes, so why shouldn't we behave like one?

animallover wrote:
Anyway, I'm going to try this interpreting human behavior like great apes for a while and see how it works . . .
The big exception to this would be smiling, of course - as that is a VERY aggressive gesture by most primates . . .


BTW - teeth baring in chimps (& other primates) is not necessarily aggressive. Chimps DO smile -- but, there is also a certain teeth baring expression that is a threat [check out the bit about gestures on this page] >>

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/apes/chimp/

:D


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macvincent
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29 Dec 2004, 8:12 pm

No wonder... we share about 99% percent of our gene's with chimps.



animallover
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29 Dec 2004, 9:35 pm

I certianly mean no disrespect to DeeJay by comparing his behavior to that of any sort of primate - as far as I am concerned humans are just the dominant species on earth right now - and we are primates . . . and particularly ugly ones if you compare us to gorillas and, especially, oranataungs . . . you can see them looking at us and thinking 'What happened to your hair?!'

I found it funny that the last time I went to the Fort Worth zoo they had this wonderful new enclosure built for their great apes and humans were jumping around and acting like idiots in front of these chimpanzees who were watching them quite calmly like they were wondering what they were thinking acting like that . . . :lol: