Are you confused by very simple conversation?

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EXPECIALLY
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22 Dec 2011, 3:31 pm

I don't have problems as far as understanding language itself and I follow written directions very well (and love to read) but I have serious trouble understanding people when they speak.

Just simple sentences.

I'm trying to describe exactly what it is that throws me off in simple conversation sometimes and I really can't explain it.

I have no trouble with speech myself and have even been called eloquent but when I struggle to comprehend very basic sentences from other people, it makes me look a little less than capable (especially in professional and work related situations).

I think it boils down to trying to understand someone's tone WHILE trying to understand the words coming out of their mouth at the same time.

I can do both of things seperately but when I try to do them together I often times hear...just noise, that makes no sense to me if I'm listening to the person's tone, OR, I will hear their words perfectly but completely neglect to understand the tone (and miss any kind of jokes or subtleties/references) and respond with an inappropriate tone myself, that may sound a little rude or inattentive and sometimes leads to misunderstanding or makes a poor impression on people.


SOMETIMES(with people I talk to very often) I can understand perfectly without having my processing broken down this way but often times I have to choose one method of understanding speech over the other.

For whatever reason this seems to be getting worse with age.

I haven't been on meds for years but am wondering if any of the stimulants (or even AD's) help others with this?



Last edited by EXPECIALLY on 22 Dec 2011, 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

The_Walrus
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22 Dec 2011, 3:36 pm

I sometimes struggle to understand people, but I think I understand them most of the time.



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22 Dec 2011, 4:30 pm

Expecially, I could written what you just wrote. I wasn't diagnosed with AS until I was 47, and have always had hearing problems (I'm deaf in one ear). But I always suspected there was something more.

A friend gave me some college courses on tape. As hard as I've tried, I get very little out of them. I get much more out of books.

I'm guessing it's just one of the burdens of having AS. I ask for things in writing whenever possible.



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22 Dec 2011, 5:14 pm

my uncle told me yesterday that he took the keys out of the ignition. And I was like "ok"



EXPECIALLY
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22 Dec 2011, 5:22 pm

WhiteWidow wrote:
my uncle told me yesterday that he took the keys out of the ignition. And I was like "ok"


I DUNNO WHAT YOU MEAN.



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22 Dec 2011, 5:42 pm

EXPECIALLY wrote:
WhiteWidow wrote:
my uncle told me yesterday that he took the keys out of the ignition. And I was like "ok"


I DUNNO WHAT YOU MEAN.


We were sitting in his truck. He turns over and says "I took the keys out of the ignition!" I said "ok" I told him I didn't know what to say. He said "just say holy smokes!"



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22 Dec 2011, 5:44 pm

If its a conversation that I do not understand, then yes its confusing.



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22 Dec 2011, 5:44 pm

WhiteWidow wrote:
EXPECIALLY wrote:
WhiteWidow wrote:
my uncle told me yesterday that he took the keys out of the ignition. And I was like "ok"


I DUNNO WHAT YOU MEAN.


We were sitting in his truck. He turns over and says "I took the keys out of the ignition!" I said "ok" I told him I didn't know what to say. He said "just say holy smokes!"


LOL ok.

O_o



Koanic
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22 Dec 2011, 7:07 pm

The key might be that you can understand people you know, but not strangers.

This suggests that anxiety and performance pressure might be related to the problem.

Have you tried "not trying"? Letting your conscious mind get out of the way, and focus on nothing while they speak, and don't try to analyze what they're saying.

It sounds like you're trying to do a lot of active conscious processing, which interferes with allowing your subconscious to comrpehend the continuous info stream.



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22 Dec 2011, 7:20 pm

Koanic wrote:
The key might be that you can understand people you know, but not strangers.

This suggests that anxiety and performance pressure might be related to the problem.

Have you tried "not trying"? Letting your conscious mind get out of the way, and focus on nothing while they speak, and don't try to analyze what they're saying.

It sounds like you're trying to do a lot of active conscious processing, which interferes with allowing your subconscious to comrpehend the continuous info stream.


This is true because I don't have this problem with TV. I can get everything the actors are saying and sense the tone, I guess because I'm not engaged in the conversation.

I do try to tune everything out IRL, but it's easier said than done.

In a room with more than one person or in public it's extremely difficult to keep all of the information from coming in at the same time, I think this is also why I have to choose one method of processing.



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22 Dec 2011, 7:50 pm

Fascinating. So there are two possibilities:

1. It's related to anxiety

2. It's related to conscious effort vs no conscious effort, i.e. "mind like water"

Obviously those two aren't mutually exclusive and are in fact related.

The thing is, I don't think NT's actually do keep track of everything going on in e.g. party atmospheres. The difference is that they're reacting on a primarily emotional level rather than rational level, which lets them multitask better and respond more quickly and fluidly.

It doesn't sound like your emotional subconscious processing is broken; rather you just need to figure out how to activate it rather than relying on your conscious processing in certain stressful situations.



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23 Dec 2011, 10:02 pm

Koanic wrote:
The key might be that you can understand people you know, but not strangers.

This suggests that anxiety and performance pressure might be related to the problem.


Have you tried "not trying"? Letting your conscious mind get out of the way, and focus on nothing while they speak, and don't try to analyze what they're saying.

It sounds like you're trying to do a lot of active conscious processing, which interferes with allowing your subconscious to comrpehend the continuous info stream.


Do you have a source for the above, Koanic? Note that I do believe what you are saying. In fact, I really think that you are on to something with the above statement in bold. I am merely wondering if you found this information anywhere in particular, as I have had a lot of difficulty in the past with "understanding simple conversation" as the OP puts it, and I would love to do more reading on the topic.

The reason why I believe your post to have credence is because I noticed an amelioration of my difficulties after starting on anti-depressants to treat anxiety issues. However, for example, I still have much difficulty with being introduced to strangers. I am often so focused on making a good impression and reacting appropriately, to the point that I do not hear the other person's name, position, etc. Perhaps this has something to do with the "performance pressure" to which you had referred.


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Koanic
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23 Dec 2011, 10:25 pm

I suppose it's time to introduce myself then.

In junior high and high school I had an AQ of 37 according to this test: (Google piepalace aspergers test)

After about 15 years, I now have an AQ of 17. My goal is an AQ of 10.

Did I have clinical Aspergers? I'm not sure. Maybe not. But I was on that functional spectrum, and it bothered me a great deal. Through years of study and testing, I found ways to improve.

I expect to reach my AQ=10 goal pretty quickly, over less than a year of natural social immersion. I can't give all the details for why I expect this rapid pace for the last portion, since I wish to remain anonymous.

Your difficulty with intros to strangers is precisely the sort of performance pressure that I mean. You are so engaged with overmind functioning that you shut out your undermind's ability to process and react to the conversation and emotional cues. And of course there is a great deal of anxiety that goes along with this, which doesn't help.

Two things account for my improvement.
1. Switching to a "paleo" diet - I had to do this first. Food intolerances altered my emotional functioning.
2. Studying body language, socializing, meditation, psychology, human nature, Game, and eventually developing my own system called Koanic Soul that combines all of these.

I've put Koanic Soul online. The presentation is still incomplete, but the system is finished. (Google Koanic Soul)

I welcome feedback, but be warned that there are many offensive and strange ideas at the above.



CantExplain
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24 Dec 2011, 12:10 am

I can follow a conversation as long as people don't all talk at once.