Are neurotypicals really that good at describing emotions?

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TheSpecialKid
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12 Jun 2009, 1:26 pm

If you look at the written charateristics of Autism, Aspergers and Schzophrenia, you'll notice that they seem very alike.
There is not much difference between the different disorders (in the written material).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspergers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

There's only (more or less) minor differences between these...

However if you look at the people who gets diagnosed with the different disorders, you'll notice that they are very different. It is like a particular group gets diagnosed with Autism and another group which behave differently gets diagnosed with Aspergers.

And neurotypicals says we can't write about our emotions!
Well if they were so good, why didn't they describe the differences they are able to see in these groups of people?

Any feedback on these thoughts?



millie
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12 Jun 2009, 2:01 pm

I can write brilliantly about my emotions...but i process them very differently. there are lapses in processing, no feeling periods, stony reactions to things others react to emotionally, over-reactions and hyper-sensitivity in other situations. There are periods of complete disconnection.

There is also an acute awareness that i do not feel many feelings around other people. The realm is an internal and autistic one for me. It is a singular process and if other people come into it, i go stony and unfeeling, for the most part. I do show feeling in meltdowns, however. SO, i live with a reputation of being something i am not.

I have an extraordinary capacity to analyse my feelings and emotions. But the whole situation with me is vastly different from most others i come across.

The issue with me is my emotions are ALL processed and analysed cognitively, to the extreme.
And there is little connection between my head and my heart.

Also, a lot of the time i feel i am empty or devoid of normal emotion. as if there is nothing there.



NicksQuestions
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12 Jun 2009, 2:09 pm

I wonder if it's possible that some of the diagnostic criteria were written by those with "Asperger's like" traits, since it sounds analytical? But then, most people who are analytical are not HFA/Asperger's. Simon Baron-Cohen came up with an Autism Spectrum Quotient test earlier, and when they tested it on control groups vs. those diagnosed, Math Olympiad winners and math majors still scored in the low 20's, while most with HFA/Asperger's scored in the 30's. So there's more to it than being analytical and having various nerd-like qualities.

But yea, for your question, if it was written by neurotypicals, that sounds like they didn't describe the emotional aspects. The diagnostic books tend to describe behavior rather than emotions when making up the diagnostic criteria, because it's easier and more objective to diagnose that way, showing emotional affect through body language is considered a behavior.

Also another possibility, maybe when coming up with the criteria, they came up with something that's as broad as possible while still being very specific. The traits that usually go with a disorder can vary a lot from person to person within the group, even if the majority have it, so I wonder if that is part of the reason they left out some obvious qualities.



whitetiger
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12 Jun 2009, 3:20 pm

Huh! I didn't know that about the Math Olympiad winners. I agree that blunting of affect (flat emotions) can happen in NT's, schizophrenics or those with ASD's. It's not a defining characteristic of any diagnosis.

If you look through the diagnostic criteria for AS, no mention is made of emotions.


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mcsquared
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12 Jun 2009, 3:29 pm

Maybe that's why people get misdiagnosed so much.

And maybe the doctors specializing in autism don't talk to the people specializing in schizophrenia. There is a definite divide.



Janissy
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12 Jun 2009, 3:46 pm

NicksQuestions wrote:
I wonder if it's possible that some of the diagnostic criteria were written by those with "Asperger's like" traits, since it sounds analytical? But then, most people who are analytical are not HFA/Asperger's. Simon Baron-Cohen came up with an Autism Spectrum Quotient test earlier, and when they tested it on control groups vs. those diagnosed, Math Olympiad winners and math majors still scored in the low 20's, while most with HFA/Asperger's scored in the 30's. So there's more to it than being analytical and having various nerd-like qualities.

But yea, for your question, if it was written by neurotypicals, that sounds like they didn't describe the emotional aspects. The diagnostic books tend to describe behavior rather than emotions when making up the diagnostic criteria, because it's easier and more objective to diagnose that way, showing emotional affect through body language is considered a behavior.

Also another possibility, maybe when coming up with the criteria, they came up with something that's as broad as possible while still being very specific. The traits that usually go with a disorder can vary a lot from person to person within the group, even if the majority have it, so I wonder if that is part of the reason they left out some obvious qualities.


What he said.

Clinical research and the DSM are not the place to go for descriptions of emotions. Poetry, fiction and memoirs, and song lyrics are the place to go for that. Some of those are written by AS people and some by NT people. I don't think this is an AS/NT split. I think this is a split between writing for a clinical audience and writing for a lay audience.



marshall
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12 Jun 2009, 5:48 pm

TheSpecialKid wrote:
If you look at the written charateristics of Autism, Aspergers and Schzophrenia, you'll notice that they seem very alike.
There is not much difference between the different disorders (in the written material).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspergers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

There's only (more or less) minor differences between these...

However if you look at the people who gets diagnosed with the different disorders, you'll notice that they are very different. It is like a particular group gets diagnosed with Autism and another group which behave differently gets diagnosed with Aspergers.

And neurotypicals says we can't write about our emotions!
Well if they were so good, why didn't they describe the differences they are able to see in these groups of people?

Any feedback on these thoughts?


I don't understand your reasoning. The articles seem to describe very different sets of traits. Could you be more specific?



marshall
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12 Jun 2009, 6:29 pm

whitetiger wrote:
Huh! I didn't know that about the Math Olympiad winners. I agree that blunting of affect (flat emotions) can happen in NT's, schizophrenics or those with ASD's. It's not a defining characteristic of any diagnosis.

If you look through the diagnostic criteria for AS, no mention is made of emotions.

Flat affect doesn't imply lack of emotions. It's merely a lack of observable outward expressions. Emotional blunting and anhedonia are more commonly associated with schizophrenia and dysthymia (chronic depression) than with ASD's. People with ASD's can have a flat affect without true emotional blunting.

I think unlike schizophrenia the flat affect with ASD's is context dependent. With ASD's it has more to do with a lack of display of emotion for intentional communication purposes. NT's learn to intentionally display emotional signals while interacting with other humans before they even learn to talk. ASD flat affect isn't a general lack of emotional expression as in schizophrenia.



TheSpecialKid
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12 Jun 2009, 7:09 pm

marshall wrote:
TheSpecialKid wrote:
If you look at the written charateristics of Autism, Aspergers and Schzophrenia, you'll notice that they seem very alike.
There is not much difference between the different disorders (in the written material).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspergers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

There's only (more or less) minor differences between these...

However if you look at the people who gets diagnosed with the different disorders, you'll notice that they are very different. It is like a particular group gets diagnosed with Autism and another group which behave differently gets diagnosed with Aspergers.

And neurotypicals says we can't write about our emotions!
Well if they were so good, why didn't they describe the differences they are able to see in these groups of people?

Any feedback on these thoughts?


I don't understand your reasoning. The articles seem to describe very different sets of traits. Could you be more specific?


I knew this one was going to come. :lol:

No, I'm sorry, I've tried my best to explain what I meant. Even I wasn't fully sure if anyone would understand.
I hope that I can explain it in another way, another day. Cross your fingers 8O

Nope, I've just tried again :?