Not noticing things - is that an Aspie thing?

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Sanctus
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09 Aug 2012, 4:45 am

Sometimes, when I got out of the bathroom, my mother would ask me whether the washing machine was still running. I could never tell her. I just didn't notice it at all, though you'd think that noone could possibly not hear whether or not there's a machine running. I just didn't notice it. Or there was a bag of trash standing on top of the stairs so I would take it out, but I just didn't see it! My mother got angry with me and asked why I hadn't done it, and my only answer was: I didn't notice. Of course she didn't believe me.

Other examples are that sometimes, while driving in a city, I'd ask "is that shop there new?" And my mother just gave me a weird look and said "that's been here since you were born." Or I'd look at a person and suddenly I wasn't sure whether that person had always been wearing glasses or if they were new. I'm also bad at noticing changes on a person's outside, like new hairstyles.



one-A-N
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09 Aug 2012, 5:57 am

People talk about "male blindness" (men not seeing domestic jobs that need to be done), but I think "Aspie blindness" also exists.

Our brains are so overwhelmed trying to process all the detail that we notice, that it shuts down and skips stuff - even big stuff. But it does notice some things - and gets very twitched about them if they are different (not the way we expected).

Because we are likely to be overwhelmed by detail, we tend to focus on what we expect: so if something is not where we expect it, we may not be able to find it even though it is in plain sight. We only look where we expect the object to be, because we are overloaded when we try to search for it anywhere else. Similarly, if something is found where we were expecting no such thing (e.g an object has been moved that we are used to seeing somewhere else) then we may become anxious or uncomfortable. We handle confusing detail by expecting things to be a particular way.

NTs have a hard time realising that the world really does look different to us than it looks to them. They think that because they see something, everybody must see it as clearly as they do. They really don't get neurodiversity much of the time, because they haven't grown up in a world that constantly told them that "everyone else" thought differently to them.



JayCat
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09 Aug 2012, 7:07 am

It's hyperfocus...

Although, I do wonder why some psychologists I have visited state that autistic people see everything. Their logic was that people who only focus on what they require are self-centered and borderline socio/psychopaths. blah blah blah.

Do you think they are wrong? I sure think so.

Autistic people actually don't see everything. It's not rain man syndrome...



hanyo
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09 Aug 2012, 7:10 am

Why would you think the bag being there was for you to take out? If I noticed it I might think they put it there for their own convenience to take out the next time they went out. That is what I would think in my house. I'd even worry that if I took it out they might be mad. Maybe they were going to put more garbage in it before it went out.



RedHouse
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09 Aug 2012, 8:13 am

reading this thread so far and i have to say, this happens to me a lot to. i let my uncertainty get the best of me and choose to not act or speak. many strange reactions from others have been avoided this way, only to make my mind even more strange i think.

the phenomenon that hanyo tells about also happens me and gets me in to a lot of trouble. its nerve wrecking.

in my teen years i thought i was somewhat normal in the way i perceived the world and often tried to get around things, which didn't work. later on i had all kinds of explanations for my behavior and faults. now that i got a diagnose i'm somewhat calmer about it. these things happens but now i don't blame myself for it.



hanyo
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09 Aug 2012, 8:17 am

RedHouse wrote:
reading this thread so far and i have to say, this happens to me a lot to. i let my uncertainty get the best of me and choose to not act or speak. many strange reactions from others have been avoided this way, only to make my mind even more strange i think.


Me too. I think because it seemed like whenever I did something it was always wrong that it's better to just do nothing at all. Why bother when it will be wrong no matter what you do?



iammaz
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09 Aug 2012, 8:43 am

Sanctus wrote:
Sometimes, when I got out of the bathroom, my mother would ask me whether the washing machine was still running. I could never tell her. I just didn't notice it at all, though you'd think that noone could possibly not hear whether or not there's a machine running. I just didn't notice it. Or there was a bag of trash standing on top of the stairs so I would take it out, but I just didn't see it! My mother got angry with me and asked why I hadn't done it, and my only answer was: I didn't notice. Of course she didn't believe me.

Other examples are that sometimes, while driving in a city, I'd ask "is that shop there new?" And my mother just gave me a weird look and said "that's been here since you were born." Or I'd look at a person and suddenly I wasn't sure whether that person had always been wearing glasses or if they were new. I'm also bad at noticing changes on a person's outside, like new hairstyles.


I am the exact opposite as this.. Without consciously having looked at the washing machine i'd know that it was on, what setting and how long it had left to go. I figured it was part of the "seeing in pictures" thing. I just close my eyes and can see it again.

Except people. I can be walking down the street with a bunch of guys who practically walk out in front of traffic because they're busy noticing some pretty girl, and all i've noticed is the make, model and license plate of the car. which makes for a lot of jokes about my sexuality when they ask me what i thought of her and i say "what girl?"..

no idea if this is ASD related.



alecazam3567
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09 Aug 2012, 10:44 am

one-A-N wrote:
Because we are likely to be overwhelmed by detail, we tend to focus on what we expect: so if something is not where we expect it, we may not be able to find it even though it is in plain sight. We only look where we expect the object to be, because we are overloaded when we try to search for it anywhere else. Similarly, if something is found where we were expecting no such thing (e.g an object has been moved that we are used to seeing somewhere else) then we may become anxious or uncomfortable. We handle confusing detail by expecting things to be a particular way

Wow, I can definitely say I experience this... I also will not be fazed by things that I DO notice and not really point it out. One time, my math teacher took down the clock in the classroom because she hated that we kept checking the time instead of doing our work because we wanted to leave. I noticed, but said nothing, while everyone else was laughing and pointing at it, and people asked if I saw it. Truth is, I did, but wasn't fazed and didn't care :P



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09 Aug 2012, 11:05 am

I don't think it's an aspie thing necessarily. I both miss and notice things, depending on what's going on with me. If I'm focused in on a special interest I don't notice anything else. If I'm in a new environment or doing something new to me, that causes me to miss things. Same with stress, it tends to fuzz my thinking terribly. I don't like to drive with others in the car for similar reasons. Conversation can really distract me. When I'm driving a familiar route I like to listen to music, but if I'm finding my way in a new place, the music has to be off.

But when I'm at home or in a familiar place and relaxed, and not focusing on something in particular, I seem to notice everything. I'll walk past something that's out of place, take mental note of it, and a day or week later when my husband is looking for it, I can tell him exactly where it is.

He's also AS though, and he seems to miss a lot. He'll go outside in the morning, stay out for a while, and when he comes in doesn't even know what the weather was like. He also has what I've heard called male refrigerator blindness. There can be an item in the fridge right in front of him and he has to ask me where it is. And yet he can figure out almost instantly how something mechanical works, which I couldn't do in a million years.

So I would guess that these things vary a lot even among aspies.



Joe90
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09 Aug 2012, 12:00 pm

I thought Aspies noticed more things around them than NTs (THINGS, not people).


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Jtuk
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09 Aug 2012, 12:10 pm

If you read the literature on sensitivities, you'll find instances of Hyper as well as Hypo sensitivity. Hyper is over active, Hypo is under-active. A common hypo-sensitive example is a lack of awareness of heat, e.g. wearing a T-Shirt in freezing temperatures.

There isn't much info out there on hypo-sensitivity as it causes far less problems that hyper-sensitivity.

Jason.



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09 Aug 2012, 12:12 pm

If it is an Aspie thing, I can't say I've ever experienced it. I notice everything. Apparently, I used to constantly shout at NTs because their inobservance frustrated me so much.



Filipendula
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09 Aug 2012, 3:36 pm

I'm on the borderline between AS and NT, but I often do things like this. I'm very sporadic in what I do and don't notice, but I think I generally have a reputation for being really dopey and disinterested in what's going on around me.

However, the part below really interested me:

one-A-N wrote:
Because we are likely to be overwhelmed by detail, we tend to focus on what we expect: so if something is not where we expect it, we may not be able to find it even though it is in plain sight. We only look where we expect the object to be, because we are overloaded when we try to search for it anywhere else. Similarly, if something is found where we were expecting no such thing (e.g an object has been moved that we are used to seeing somewhere else) then we may become anxious or uncomfortable. We handle confusing detail by expecting things to be a particular way.


I definitely sometimes fail to see something right in front of me and totally relate to the "not where we expect it" part. However I keep reading about sensory overload and this is something I really don't feel I experience. What would overload in this context feel like?

I.e. You look for something where it should be and don't see it because it's a short distance to the right and you're already overloaded from searching. What is the internal/emotional/cognitive experience of that? Please somebody tell me, I'd love to understand it better.

Thanks!


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Joe90
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09 Aug 2012, 4:24 pm

When an object is moved (something that has been in one place for years) it is quite common to still think it's there and go to get it then remember it's gone when we get there. Everybody does this (I think). We've had a toilet-roll holder on the bathroom wall for about 20 years, now we've removed it because we've got one what stands on the floor, but everyone in my house say that they always reach their hands where the toilet-roll holder used to be on the wall when they're on the toilet, only to remember it's not there any more, sometimes they even have to think, ''oh yeah, we've got a new one now, haven't we?'', but in time we will all get used to the new toilet-roll holder standing on the floor.


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09 Aug 2012, 9:05 pm

Sometimes I'll notice things that nobody else notices and sometimes I won't notice things that everyone else does. I don't know whether that's an aspie thing or not. It may be that each person just notices different things.

hanyo wrote:
Why would you think the bag being there was for you to take out? If I noticed it I might think they put it there for their own convenience to take out the next time they went out. That is what I would think in my house. I'd even worry that if I took it out they might be mad. Maybe they were going to put more garbage in it before it went out.


Yes, that's totally what I would think! I hate it when people do me "favours" like that, especially throwing things out for me. Hey, if I want to throw something out, I will. I equally hate when people expect me to read their minds and do such favours for them. Sure I could try to guess what they want, but I could be wrong and why use such an unreliable system when they could... oh, I don't know... just ask?!