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OCD_Angel
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12 Sep 2012, 10:46 am

So, Aspies supposedly see patterns. When my counsellor was trying to determine whether I had AS, she asked me, "Do you see patterns in things?" I didn't really know what she meant and didn't know how to answer.

I still don't really. Does it mean like, do I see the patterns on flooring tiles and bathroom walls? Who doesn't?
Or does it mean do I see patterns in weather, for example, like maybe 2 days of rain followed by 5 days of sunshine this week?
Or is it a pattern like in IQ tests: 2,4,8,16,32, what comes after?

Can people please give me examples of what patterns you see which makes you an aspie? Do you just see them or do you make them also?



TonyHoyle
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12 Sep 2012, 10:51 am

Unless I'm looking I'm not sure I consciously see them.. but I sure see when someone breaks a pattern! And it bugs the hell out of me.

Like if there's a pattern in the floor tiles and some idiot has put one of them the wrong way around/wrong colour I'll immediately spot it and be unable to stop looking at that bit of the floor.



Last edited by TonyHoyle on 12 Sep 2012, 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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12 Sep 2012, 10:52 am

TonyHoyle wrote:
Unless I'm looking I'm not sure I consciously see them.. but I sure see when someone breaks a pattern! And it bugs the hell out of me.
Can you give me a specific real life example of that?



TonyHoyle
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12 Sep 2012, 10:53 am

Just edited to include an example (at the same time as your post :p).



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12 Sep 2012, 10:59 am

I see patterns in people's behavior. Sometimes I recognize a pattern before it happens and it actually prepares me for a possible reaction. For
example, a really simple pattern is when I am in the checkout line in the store and I know that the pattern will consist of the cashier looking up and making eye contact (or not) and asking me how I am doing. Then I am prepared to answer, while waiting for my total to appear on the cash register and to have my method of payment ready. That is a really simple one. I can also recognize complex patterns as they emerge, such as scenarios in the workplace. There are patterns that occur in social situations that warn me when things might be getting unpleasant and allow me to leave before the stuff hits the fan. Those are a few examples. Now having said that, there are many times when I am overwhelmed with sensory issues and may miss out on recognizing patterns until they have already passed.


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12 Sep 2012, 11:57 am

I obsess over how many times I do things, so quite often I'll notice how many of things there are. Seats on the tube are a good example:

Picture here.

I find myself focussing on the squares and looking at them in turn, in fours. So I'll pick a square, look to the one next to it, then underneath that one, then the one next to that one, in a square shape. I'll do this repeatedly.

I get left with shadows of objects I've looked at in my vision (kind of like when you look at lights and when you look away you can still see it). This happens with everything. Sometimes I'll notice it more than usual, particularly if I've been looking at someone's face whilst talking to them. I will then look with that image still in my vision, in a pattern like on the tube seat.

I've just done it right now - looked out of the window and looked at four different windows of the building outside, in a square shape.

I do the same when I'm sat on the toilet - the floor has lino which looks like fake tiling, so I look at a "tile" of each colour, in a square shape, a couple of times.

I'm also really aware of how many times other people do things, as well as myself. If someone taps something three times I have to correct it to four, either physically or I just add another one in my head.


I never really realised this isn't normal until recently. It's certainly tiring.



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12 Sep 2012, 11:58 am

i don't think i notice patterns in any unusual way. that particular symptom is not in the diagnostic criteria for autism.



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12 Sep 2012, 12:11 pm

To me "seeing patterns" means you focus intensely on details, and I don't think it's something only found in autistic people. I always thank this was caused mostly by strong anxiety. The world is too big and overwhelming to confront as a whole, so you have to experience it in slices. This way, you live in a "little world" that you can control and you can find logical.


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12 Sep 2012, 12:32 pm

I'll spot numerical patterns, language patterns, color patterns. I find word patterns very easily.

Some real examples.

Spotting the repeating pattern in a decorative pattern that is trying to be random.

Finding the fibonacci sequence or other numerical patterns in numbers I just happen to see.

Seeing faces, words, pictures, numbers, anything, in that which is random, like clouds, hair on the shower wall, randomly piled objects, fur patterns, textured ceilings, etc.

Noticing tiles out of place in a floor pattern, as was mentioned. Actually, noticing a broken pattern is 100 times easier than noticing a pattern itself. I see patterns all the time, but most of them are intended to be there, so noticing them isn't special. It really only comes to my attention when the pattern is broken, or when the pattern is less than obvious. Then comes the fun of figuring out the pattern and what it means.

But a few more examples.

Seeing the rhyming pattern of songs. Seeing the geometric progression of the leafing of plants. Noticing a person or animal moving in the same way every time. Looking at the pattern of windows and balconies on a building and interpreting the layout of apartments inside. Noticing breaks in the flow of people as they unconsciously avoid a shadowy spot on the floor.


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12 Sep 2012, 12:37 pm

I see patterns in stories, in history, in processes... in almost anything. The first simple to relate example that springs to mind was actually something my father did - he would notice a subtle pattern in the way certain stores treated their customers, and he'd say "They won't be in business in a few years". And he'd be right far more often than not. In fact, almost every case in which he was "wrong" was either an issue of it simply took slightly longer than his estimate, or the business would run into trouble, almost fail, then someone would turn it around. I can do this, but not with as much accuracy (I think this is actually due to a shifting business climate, but that's another story).

Or, say, history may not repeat itself exactly - it doesn't - but there are patterns in the way things go that do repeat. Such as the collapse of Rome - I was working on a book that compared a number of patterns in their society to similar patterns in our own - a project I quit when I discovered so many, I scared myself half to death. Especially since things I didn't think I'd see in my lifetime have already happened... So I don't know exactly what will happen to our society, but with those patterns developing in similar ways under the surface (and often with similar motivations driving them) I don't think the next few decades are going to be easy ones. For example, one trend in Rome was the growth of latifundia - huge farms instead of smaller "family" farms, and of "factories" staffed by a number of slaves, instead of individual craftsmen. We have big agribusiness and big box stores - and some of the political and social trends match up very well, too. But this is all such a complex web of issues, I'd need a book to really explain it.

Most of the patterns that really draw my interest are either large, complex, or both, which is why it's hard for me to give you examples. ETA: I do spot many of the simpler examples easily - but that's so simple it bores me. I like the challenge of looking for the deep, hidden patterns.


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Last edited by theWanderer on 12 Sep 2012, 12:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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12 Sep 2012, 12:38 pm

I see social patterns. I've been using a lot of time thinking about that, and I have noticed that I can stay from a far and see what repeats itself and what people generally are like in society. Like sociology.



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12 Sep 2012, 5:09 pm

Thanks for all your examples! Gives me a better idea now. I can relate to some of it, like seeing mistakes in floor tiles. In fact, I have a tendency to get hypnotised by floor tiles, studying the patterns and seeing how many different types of patterns I can discern by isolating different squares of it.

And yeah I think patterns exist everywhere in the world and in everything we see, but I never thought of it as "seeing patterns". I've always thought that's just how the world is and we see what's right in front of us, don't we?

I'm more of a micro, details person, though, so don't see big picture patterns like some of you.



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12 Sep 2012, 5:59 pm

PixelPony wrote:
Seeing faces, words, pictures, numbers, anything, in that which is random, like clouds, hair on the shower wall, randomly piled objects, fur patterns, textured ceilings, etc.


Me too, I see faces and eyes in things like clouds, wood knots of furniture, textured wallpaper etc. but I didn't realise that counted as patterns. I just thought everyone probably saw those things too. Clouds are immensely fascinating to me because of what shapes you can see in them, but the shapes are things like people, animals or objects rather than patterns particularly.


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12 Sep 2012, 9:27 pm

hartzofspace wrote:
I see patterns in people's behavior. Sometimes I recognize a pattern before it happens and it actually prepares me for a possible reaction. For
example, a really simple pattern is when I am in the checkout line in the store and I know that the pattern will consist of the cashier looking up and making eye contact (or not) and asking me how I am doing. Then I am prepared to answer, while waiting for my total to appear on the cash register and to have my method of payment ready. That is a really simple one. I can also recognize complex patterns as they emerge, such as scenarios in the workplace. There are patterns that occur in social situations that warn me when things might be getting unpleasant and allow me to leave before the stuff hits the fan. Those are a few examples. Now having said that, there are many times when I am overwhelmed with sensory issues and may miss out on recognizing patterns until they have already passed.


I totally do this too.

I find it easier to hang out with people who are mental illness sufferers in many ways, because once I've seen a pattern I can usually translate that into an informal (and private) diagnosis that helps me understand how they will react to certain situations and modify my behavior accordingly. I'm utter s**t at insight about my own life and behavior, but if I've seen it before I'm pretty good at identifying behavioral patterns in other people, and often making educated guesses about their emotions from them.


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12 Sep 2012, 9:36 pm

I see patterns everywhere! :D 8O 8)

theWanderer wrote:
I see patterns in stories, in history, in processes... in almost anything. The first simple to relate example that springs to mind was actually something my father did - he would notice a subtle pattern in the way certain stores treated their customers, and he'd say "They won't be in business in a few years". And he'd be right far more often than not. In fact, almost every case in which he was "wrong" was either an issue of it simply took slightly longer than his estimate, or the business would run into trouble, almost fail, then someone would turn it around. I can do this, but not with as much accuracy (I think this is actually due to a shifting business climate, but that's another story).

Or, say, history may not repeat itself exactly - it doesn't - but there are patterns in the way things go that do repeat. Such as the collapse of Rome - I was working on a book that compared a number of patterns in their society to similar patterns in our own - a project I quit when I discovered so many, I scared myself half to death. Especially since things I didn't think I'd see in my lifetime have already happened... So I don't know exactly what will happen to our society, but with those patterns developing in similar ways under the surface (and often with similar motivations driving them) I don't think the next few decades are going to be easy ones. For example, one trend in Rome was the growth of latifundia - huge farms instead of smaller "family" farms, and of "factories" staffed by a number of slaves, instead of individual craftsmen. We have big agribusiness and big box stores - and some of the political and social trends match up very well, too. But this is all such a complex web of issues, I'd need a book to really explain it.

Most of the patterns that really draw my interest are either large, complex, or both, which is why it's hard for me to give you examples. ETA: I do spot many of the simpler examples easily - but that's so simple it bores me. I like the challenge of looking for the deep, hidden patterns.
Was that book A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee? If it is I know EXACTLY the terror you speak of. 8O

Welcome to the West's version of the last century of the Roman Republic.


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12 Sep 2012, 10:18 pm

Odin wrote:
Was that book A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee? If it is I know EXACTLY the terror you speak of. 8O

Welcome to the West's version of the last century of the Roman Republic.


Well, among other books, I read Toynbee, but I was working on writing my own book, in the 1980s. What got me started was actually this: one of the factors often cited in the collapse of the Roman Empire was the fact they failed to understand what their widespread use of lead was doing to them - so I wondered about our food additives. We have hundreds, perhaps thousands of them, that have never been studied for subtle neurological effects. So I looked for other parallels. Until I decided maybe I didn't want to know...

If I'm going to live through a period like that, I'm not sure there's much point to figuring out exactly how far along the road we are, since I already know we're too far for my comfort. The other reason I gave up was because the people who would bother to listen already know, and the rest of them wouldn't listen no matter how much information I came up with. So why bother? At this point, there's not a whole lot holding our civilisation together. Look at it this way - in Roman times, the level of technology they had was such that a single intelligent individual could understand most or all of it, and keep it going for a fair amount of time. Put a few people together, and they could keep going until the barbarians decided to barbecue them (yes, I do know that isn't what they usually did, that was just a joke). Today, we depend on so many things. Look at how much manufacturing was delayed just by the one tsunami in Japan. What happens if things get rocky enough we can't get replacement parts we need for vital equipment? Most of those aren't going to be things any one person could whip up out back in the barn. So our civilisation is inherently a lot more fragile once it reaches a certain point of disintegration.


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In the country of the blind, the one eyed man - would be diagnosed with a psychological disorder