Theory of Mind and Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development

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shsss1994
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06 Apr 2016, 4:40 pm

I doubt whether, as a 23-year-old with autism, I lack a theory of mind, but I know that my only motivation to yield to social influence is punishment, putting me squarely in stage 1 of Lawrence Kohlberg's moral development theory.

In other words...

I am compelled to action (X) if and only if:
There is punishment (Y) if I refuse to take the action (¬X), or
There is no punishment (¬Y) if I choose to take the action (X).

Conversely...

I am compelled to inaction (¬X) if and only if:
There is punishment (Y) if I choose to take the action (X), or
There is no punishment (¬Y) if I refuse to take the action (¬X).

Does Theory of Mind allow me to "advance" past the punishment-oriented stage?
If not, how can I advance past the punishment-oriented stage?



kraftiekortie
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06 Apr 2016, 4:58 pm

LOL...you'd be surprised how many adults exhibit Stage 1-type thoughts!

I do, and I fancy myself a full adult.

But I'm also pretty certain that you exhibit Stage 2-type signs, too.

Stage 3 is too lofty for most, I believe. Stage 3 is similar to the "self-actualization" phase of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.



shsss1994
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06 Apr 2016, 6:04 pm

Thanks for the compliment, but I still fear that I won't get the heavily-specialized help that I need. My psychiatrist told me that practice is necessary to improve my mental health and become more sociable, but I am constantly punished (in the Skinner sense, e.g. with physiological stress) when I practice. Furthermore, all the therapists I visited were condescending towards me in that they used backdoor insults in the wording of their speech, regardless of their intentions, and I treat insults as threats. I believe that I need a service in which the administrator (therapist, psychologist, or whatever his/her title is) is extremely gentle and especially cautious not to say anything that runs the slightest risk of being misconstrued as an insult or as fighting words.



kraftiekortie
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06 Apr 2016, 6:09 pm

You should communicate these concerns to the therapist.

Otherwise, they might not know they are doing what you've described.



Whispers
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06 Apr 2016, 6:17 pm

I still doubt about the theory of mind (and mirror neurons) as an explanation of autism........


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From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were—I have not seen as others saw—I could not bring my passions from a common spring— From the same source I have not taken my sorrow—I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone—
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kraftiekortie
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06 Apr 2016, 6:36 pm

I would say, possibly, that some autistic people lack "theory of mind" in the midst of social situations--but that they always re-acquire it after being detached from that social situation for awhile.



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06 Apr 2016, 6:51 pm

Interesting, I had not heard of Lawrence Kohlberg before this and I just read all the stages in great detail. It would appear that I am at stage six. I think about what I would do in other peoples shoes and I do what I believe in and quite franky I don't give a damn if its legal or socially acceptable. I don't care if I am the only person that deviates from the norm, I make moral decisions based on logic and reasoning and I rarely ever consider what the norm is.



Whispers
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06 Apr 2016, 7:06 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
I would say, possibly, that some autistic people lack "theory of mind" in the midst of social situations--but that they always re-acquire it after being detached from that social situation for awhile.

When you say "some" autistic people and not all of them, then it's clear that theory of mind can't be something definitory of autism.
I've seen children showing stuff to me when I ask them, but not turning it towards me so that I could see it. That was amazing to see, purely lack of mind theory.
When high functioning autists don't seem to react to someone's emotional expressions, I don't think it's lack of theory of mind but difficulty to read emotions (and please, not at all lack of empathy).
I would really know what is exactly the centre and origin of everything related to autism in general, but I think theory of mind is not.


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***Educational psychologist with many autistic traits.***

From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were—I have not seen as others saw—I could not bring my passions from a common spring— From the same source I have not taken my sorrow—I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone.
E. A. Poe


kraftiekortie
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06 Apr 2016, 7:45 pm

It's funny: because I still do that sometimes.

I might mention something, have that something in my hand, and not show that something to the person with whom I am talking.

A couple of minutes later, when I am not with that person, I realize that I did not do. I did not exhibit "joint attention."

An example of "not having theory of mind within the stress of social situations, yet having theory of mind detached from social situations."

A "disorder" in theory of mind, while not absolutely at the crux of autism, could be said to be a rather frequent feature of it



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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06 Apr 2016, 8:50 pm

I am not impressed with therapists in general. sorry, but I'm not.

Even if they start out as a person who wants to help and make a damn different, their training works against them

the whole thing with diagnostic categories and high-falutin' language to which I'm not privy is labeling and a series of subtle (and not so subtle!) put-downs. And the unstated message is that I should conform to the therapists.

===

Now, in time, I hope we build our own organizations so that people have one more good option. In the meantime, we have to ride with what's currently available. So, yes, I welcome skills and advice on how to kind of suss out whether a particular therapist is going to be helpful to me or not.



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06 Apr 2016, 9:17 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
It's funny: because I still do that sometimes.

I might mention something, have that something in my hand, and not show that something to the person with whom I am talking.

A couple of minutes later, when I am not with that person, I realize that I did not do. I did not exhibit "joint attention."

An example of "not having theory of mind within the stress of social situations, yet having theory of mind detached from social situations."

A "disorder" in theory of mind, while not absolutely at the crux of autism, could be said to be a rather frequent feature of it

I would say my most frequent fax-paus would be to assume other know what I'm talking about.
Like I assume they are on the same track and following the same thread my internal brain is. Like... even if I know they couldn't possibly know what I am currently thinking in my brain... and then I have to add context and snap myself back to the mindset of "oh, yes- of course they have no idea what I am talking about! They don't know that inside joke or whatever or what I was thinking 5 mins ago! I am not making sense lol" :lol:

It reminds me of the thought I had to myself which was: I can be very good sometimes about reading people and such, but this is a CONSCIOUS skill I have painstakingly developed over YEARS, and sometimes I can forget to turn it on/switch on the social empathy, or if I'm not hyperfocused on being super social... I revert to my aspie instincts/very overt logic systems... Basically it takes resources and conscious effort lol... so it's kind of hard to... idk... keep on 24/7, and when I am even more tired I feel like I revert back a few steps or stages or whatever. :lol:
But, at least I'm away of it now!! I'm just glad I know how it all works. (or at least I like to think I do :wink: ) 8)



Whispers
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07 Apr 2016, 2:15 am

That's so interesting!

Although yes, I would love to say that something IS the centre and beginning of all forms of autism, but we can't yet. Theory of Mind is not.

Maybe the hyper-connected brain. But still lacks of something.


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***Educational psychologist with many autistic traits.***

From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were—I have not seen as others saw—I could not bring my passions from a common spring— From the same source I have not taken my sorrow—I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone.
E. A. Poe