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tinyteddy
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22 Jul 2015, 9:28 am

Marybird wrote:
"The apparently ‘restricted’ aspects of restricted interests are at least partly related to pattern detection, in that there are positive emotions in the presence of material presenting a high level of internal structure, and a seeking out of material related in form and structure to what has already been encountered and memorized."
I can't find the article I got this from, but it explains special interests pretty well.
It's like getting addicted to a certain pattern of thought.


YES!! this is spot on!!



Dylanperr
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21 Feb 2019, 8:50 pm

Aren't they the same. But just with the word special in it?



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22 Feb 2019, 10:07 am

I would say cats are my number one special interest. Other interests come and go, but cats (and pets) have been a constant in my life.



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22 Feb 2019, 11:10 am

ZombieBrideXD wrote:
The Thing that describes it as a 'special interest' is actually a obsession. its Maladaptive, its Unjustifiable, Its Disturbing and its Atypical. Its what seperates it from a healthy interest.

Marybird wrote:
"The apparently ‘restricted’ aspects of restricted interests are at least partly related to pattern detection, in that there are positive emotions in the presence of material presenting a high level of internal structure, and a seeking out of material related in form and structure to what has already been encountered and memorized."I can't find the article I got this from, but it explains special interests pretty well.It's like getting addicted to a certain pattern of thought.

I agree with both statements. My special interests are based on pattern detection (i.e. restricted) and are maladaptive to a healthy balance in my life (i.e. intense).


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littlebee
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22 Feb 2019, 2:17 pm

Knofskia wrote:
ZombieBrideXD wrote:
The Thing that describes it as a 'special interest' is actually a obsession. its Maladaptive, its Unjustifiable, Its Disturbing and its Atypical. Its what seperates it from a healthy interest.

Marybird wrote:
"The apparently ‘restricted’ aspects of restricted interests are at least partly related to pattern detection, in that there are positive emotions in the presence of material presenting a high level of internal structure, and a seeking out of material related in form and structure to what has already been encountered and memorized."I can't find the article I got this from, but it explains special interests pretty well.It's like getting addicted to a certain pattern of thought.

I agree with both statements. My special interests are based on pattern detection (i.e. restricted) and are maladaptive to a healthy balance in my life (i.e. intense).


You really hit the nail on the head with this selection of quotes and your comment.. This is the quality of approach I am personally looking for on WP as it leads to inquiry, and imo, by focusing on the track of hard cor data processing and deep inquiry a lot of people including many here will be made a lot happier, and ultimately there will be less suffering for humanity in general and even all sentient creatures.

So...somebody on here named his recent thread something to the effect of"Show Not Tell":-) Well, in this vein would my interest in inquiry be termed a special interest or a regular interest?

I will add that in any kind of emergency situation a person or people have the very best chance to survive and help themselves and other people if they are 'cold' calm.



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22 Feb 2019, 2:41 pm

littlebee wrote:
Knofskia wrote:
ZombieBrideXD wrote:
The Thing that describes it as a 'special interest' is actually a obsession. its Maladaptive, its Unjustifiable, Its Disturbing and its Atypical. Its what seperates it from a healthy interest.

Marybird wrote:
"The apparently ‘restricted’ aspects of restricted interests are at least partly related to pattern detection, in that there are positive emotions in the presence of material presenting a high level of internal structure, and a seeking out of material related in form and structure to what has already been encountered and memorized."I can't find the article I got this from, but it explains special interests pretty well.It's like getting addicted to a certain pattern of thought.

I agree with both statements. My special interests are based on pattern detection (i.e. restricted) and are maladaptive to a healthy balance in my life (i.e. intense).


You really hit the nail on the head with this selection of quotes and your comment.. This is the quality of approach I am personally looking for on WP as it leads to inquiry, and imo, by focusing on the track of hard cor data processing and deep inquiry a lot of people including many here will be made a lot happier, and ultimately there will be less suffering for humanity in general and even all sentient creatures.

So...somebody on here named his recent thread something to the effect of"Show Not Tell":-) Well, in this vein would my interest in inquiry be termed a special interest or a regular interest?

I will add that in any kind of emergency situation a person or people have the very best chance to survive and help themselves and other people if they are 'cold' calm.



Perhaps a good chance of 'survival'....sure because in the moment you act in a calm collected way. But shock can do that to you and once that wears off you might come to find yourself more traumatized than you thought you'd be after the fact. Not sure it's so much a cold calm as being so horrified your brain is like 'nope' and just checks out.

At least in my experience.


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22 Feb 2019, 2:51 pm

So wait though, by default special interests are a negative detrimental thing?

I had the impression they can be a good thing or more neutral. I guess I also don't feel any of my special interests where ever that detrimental per say...what was detrimental was the way I went on about it without any regard for if anyone else was interested or not.


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littlebee
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22 Feb 2019, 3:35 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
So wait though, by default special interests are a negative detrimental thing?

I had the impression they can be a good thing or more neutral. I guess I also don't feel any of my special interests where ever that detrimental per say...what was detrimental was the way I went on about it without any regard for if anyone else was interested or not.


Right, and thanks for both your comments.. Whether a person is "hot" (overly intense, even obsessive) or "cold" (maybe more grounded and detached), a special interest could be beneficial, either for the person with the special interest and even for many people. I would say being able to focus in a sustained way and at a certain angle is more beneficial than detrimental to humanity and also, generally speaking, to an individual.

Re your other comment:

"Perhaps a good chance of 'survival'....sure because in the moment you act in a calm collected way. But shock can do that to you and once that wears off you might come to find yourself more traumatized than you thought you'd be after the fact. Not sure it's so much a cold calm as being so horrified your brain is like 'nope' and just checks out.

At least in my experience."

Agreed, so in a crisis situation there is a tendency for the mind to omit irrelevant data. In fact this is how the mind works, in general, by omitting data that is perceived to be irrelevant, and if a person feels personally challenged in a particular situation, physically and/or psychologically, he is going to process data in a certain mode or style that probably relates to some degree to the everyday way he processes data; therefore some people are more effective in a crisis situation then others. Now what falls under the heading of crisis? The way a person feels about himself and others would probably determine this, and also how near the crisis is to home. For instance, a house fire next door is not perceived in the same way as a fire downtown (unless you live "downtown," but the perception of a forest fire many miles away could be rightly perceived as an immediate threat. This all relates back to data processing, and the human brain did evolve over many years to process data in a certain context, and now this context is not the same. It is much more complex.



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25 Feb 2019, 6:10 am

I'm obsessed about my special interests & they're a major focus & distraction from other things. My regular interests are just things I enjoy doing when I have the time & they don't really take time or focus away from other things.


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27 Feb 2019, 4:23 am

I have interests as well, which sometimes turn into special interests. The difference is the special interest is a full blown obsession. It takes up about 80% of my thought process and 95% of my more in-depth conversations. I want to change it because what I'm currently interested in isn't helping me through school, but it's very difficult to change my usual thoughts and it's somehow comforting as well. I also have very little interest in anything else, including self-care.

Knowing how to control it would pretty much guarantee any of us here a free pass to success. I can do this with my current interest because it is academic and it's a science but I'm not yet sure I want to pursue it for my entire life.



littlebee
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27 Feb 2019, 10:07 am

Very helpful responses. In my opinion the ability to have an intense focus, or, better put, a sustained focus and to increase that focus into concentration in a particular area (such as, for example, hunting or tool making) is mainly genetic characteristic of human brain function and a survival benefit to an individual and also to the group such an individual is a member of, but also, some individuals have this characteristic to a greater degree than others.but such a natural capacity can be harnessed and enhanced by practice. Obviously if you can direct and control such a factor, it is of greater benefit rather then if it completely controls oneself. This said, the ability to be interested in something is a natural, special and important thing. Interest is what moves us, and that is special. A person interested in something or other is not a person who is depressed. I suggest, generally speaking, to always go in the direction of what interests you, if possible, but also, on some level, try to reign the wild horse, as this is what makes sense. I actually had a neighbor once who was out in the back yard of our building standing in the middle of our yard and throwing seeds around over the unprepared ground, into the weeds and the grass. Obviously this activity on some level was in some way interesting to him, but:-) I asked him what he was doing and he said he was making a garden.Yeah ha ha:-)

As I wrote previoulsy, I think understanding how special interest works is the key to understanding autism (and many other things, for that matter).



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27 Feb 2019, 7:10 pm

I define a special interest as being an interest that is narrow and/or obsessive in a manner that is distinct from NT patterns of behavior. I'm also of the opinion that there are different "types" of special interests in terms of how they affect an individual and their ability to function. Some are socially maladaptive, some interfere with executive function, and others are distressing because of their consequences - perhaps being taboo, exhausting, or expensive - but also unavoidable because of the universally "compulsive" aspect of special interests. They don't affect everyone the same way.

The difference between my interests and special interests is usually pretty obvious to me. I have to engage with the latter when the urge strikes me. I wouldn't go so far as to say that they are harmful 100% of the time. Definitely never positive, though, unless you consider fringe benefits (I suppose no knowledge is utterly useless, no matter how niche). I further categorize my special interests into "primarily narrow" and "primarily obsessive." I find this useful because the way I engage with the interest depends on which is more extreme - the narrowness of the scope or the strength of the compulsion. They appear very different from each other to outsiders and definitely feel distinct. Here's their differences mapped out, as I experience them:

Primarily Narrow:
- Extremely limited in scope (even by autistic standards)
- Short-lived (a month or two at most)
- Restricted to one medium (usually videos)
- Less socially acceptable (inappropriate for age, taboo, etc.)
- Less likely to result in burnout
- Focused on exposure and consumption instead of accumulating information/facts
- Almost never shared with others

Primarily Obsessive:
- Lasts a long time (up to several years)
- Draws from all sources
- Usually broader and branching off from a typical interest (history, science, etc.)
- Takes up much more time and usually results in burnout
- Far more "compulsive" in nature, often interfering with function
- Focused on collecting information and producing an "end product" (catalog, book, etc.)
- Prone to be over-shared to the point of social conflict

Of course, whether they are primarily one or the other, they'll be both narrow and obsessive in parts. Primarily narrow interests are more pleasant, though, and cause fewer issues. I haven't had one in months. :?


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