Getting "hypnotized" by facial movements

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ouroborosUK
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17 Dec 2013, 5:08 pm

Hi,

I am still investigating whether or not I have AS (or another ASD). I have an experience about which I would be interested to know if some other people have it. I think it is related to the problems with eye contact and interpreting face expressions but I didn't exactly find it "as is" in the literature.

When I am discussing with someone ; I sometimes get “hypnotized” by the face: my whole attention is captured by the facial movements, I get “lost” into them and I can’t focus on the discussion any more. I have to look away and put myself together again before being able to go on. It happens with people who have a an expressive face with very mobile features, and mostly when I am discussing things that I find interesting and not especially stressful. (When I am really anxious I can barely look at anyone's face anyway.)

Does anyone experience the same thing ?


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ouroboros

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Willard
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17 Dec 2013, 6:02 pm

Yes, most of us have that experience almost on a daily basis - that's due to "Hypersensitvity to Sensory Stimuli," which is essentially what autism is. It causes one's brain to become easily overwhelmed by the incoming stream of sensory data - light, sound, voices, touch, body language, facial expressions, etc., which the autistic brain can't process fast enough to keep up. As a result, we can frequently be distracted by minor things that a normal brain would ignore as relatively unimportant.

A Neurotypical brain can process that data stream fast enough to regulate it and determine what's important and what isn't without conscious thought. An autistic brain can't, and gets confused, sometimes coming to focus on details that are ultimately irrelevant, like facial features, when one should be focused on the voice and interpreting the words being said.



ouroborosUK
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17 Dec 2013, 8:44 pm

Willard wrote:
Yes, most of us have that experience almost on a daily basis - that's due to "Hypersensitvity to Sensory Stimuli," which is essentially what autism is. It causes one's brain to become easily overwhelmed by the incoming stream of sensory data


Yeah, that's true, it definitely looks like a sensory overload.

Willard wrote:
- light, sound, voices, touch, body language, facial expressions, etc., which the autistic brain can't process fast enough to keep up. As a result, we can frequently be distracted by minor things that a normal brain would ignore as relatively unimportant


I have it mostly for that problem about faces. But it's a bit the same for noise, I can't stand places like noisy dining halls or bars if I am with other people. If I am alone it is mostly OK, I can just "cut off" everything and focus on my own thoughts. But it is everything or nothing; if i am with people in such noisy places I get completely overwhelmed trying to make sense of their voices and what they are saying in the middle of the mess, I can't communicate at all in such context and it makes me anxious and very uncomfortable. (I try to avoid that kind of situations.) It seems it is the same for facial motions : I am trying to focus on what someone is saying and my attention gets captured by other signals. I never linked the two things together.


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ouroboros

A bit obsessed with vocabulary, semantics and using the right words. Sorry if it is a concern. It's the way I think, I am not hair-splitting or attacking you.