Science Has Been Wrong About Autistics for Years

Page 1 of 1 [ 14 posts ] 

colina
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 27 Jan 2017
Gender: Male
Posts: 40
Location: Topanga CA

14 Aug 2018, 11:39 pm

This recent NYTimes article was sent to me by a friend. It says:
“One of the most widely held beliefs about autistic people — that they are not interested in other people — is almost certainly wrong. Our understanding of autism has changed quite a bit over the past century, but this particular belief has been remarkably persistent.”

The authors are psychologists who study the social lives of autistic people.

The article continues:
“…So why do autistic people act in ways that make it appear they want to be left alone? Autism is a neurological condition that affects how people perceive, think and move. Autistic people say that some of their apparently unsociable behaviors result from these neurological characteristics. Paradoxically, they may behave in these ways when they are trying to engage with other people.
Take eye contact. Some autistic people say they find sustained eye contact uncomfortable or even painful. Others report that it’s hard to concentrate on what someone is saying while simultaneously looking at them. In other words, not looking someone in the eye may indicate that an autistic person is trying very hard to participate in the conversation at hand. Unfortunately, this attempt to engage often gets interpreted as a lack of interest.”

Read the article here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/opin ... earch.html

Seems to me that journalists and some psychologists aim to be kind when preparing general public pieces. That's a decent attitude, but my guess is that they are missing something Central to the interpersonal lives of aspies----a capacity for quickly knowing what the other person' INTENDS during a conversation. I'm talking about the intentions behind sentences and intentions 4 entering the conversation in the first place. It's an uncomfortable requirement to keep thinking about what does she mean ? What is his point? Is she sarcastic? Why doesn't he just say what he means?

All of us have strained to grasp some meaning, some intention during our conversations. Misconstruing what the other wants or is trying to say is a common cause for some ordinary Communication Breakdown. But such misunderstanding has been a chronic distressor for my aspie students—even the most gifted aspies.

Sure , they want to have the capacity to converse and maintain relationships, but it's costly. It's terribly frustrating. And therefore it's something that they want to avoid.

They must spend decades learning how to respond when the intention is unclear. Some develop an internal Manual of what to say, what's the right thing to say. And they know it is easy for neurotypicals. A terrible awareness.
Actually, gifted aspies probably study the interpersonal process of conversations in order to make everyday connection. They can tell you how hard it has been to learn the proper responses so they can avoid disconnections , loneliness or awkwardness or embarrassment for saying something “stupid.”
Yes they want to be connected, and they're able to do it better after learning about human conversation.

That's my guess and my FAVORITE hypothesis. It’s driving my work on an interactive online program to help people better understand each other’s intentions and see firsthand how people connect and disconnect in both everyday and intimate conversations.

I want to know how people on WP feel about understanding intentions. Please tell me what you think.


_________________
When I’ve done something that makes a relationship get better or makes someone like themselves more -- it makes me like myself more.


Fnord
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 May 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 39,640
Location: Stendec

15 Aug 2018, 9:08 am

colina wrote:
Science Has Been Wrong About Autistics for Years.
Science is self-correcting, and has been getting closer to the truth about autism for years, too.


_________________
You don't have to be popular to be a good person, but...
You almost always have to be a good person to be popular!


Trogluddite
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Feb 2016
Age: 48
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,977
Location: Yorkshire, UK

15 Aug 2018, 11:06 am

colina wrote:
a capacity for quickly knowing what the other person' INTENDS during a conversation.

This is known as "pragmatics", and I agree; it can be a very significant problem when trying to socialise as an autistic person. It is formally recognised to a certain extent; for example, the new DSM-V diagnostic labels may include the modifier "without delay in functional language" - the word "functional" is there to indicate that, while understanding of grammar and the meanings of words (semantics) may be very good, difficulty with comprehending the pragmatics of language may still be present.

In fact, this leads me to what I think is another common misinterpretation - the concept that we always take words literally. This is so often taken to mean that we can't comprehend similes, metaphors and figures of speech; but, while there are some who do struggle with these aspects of language, we can see from posts here that they present little problem for many of us. However, understanding those things is not the same thing as understanding the "unspoken words between the lines" which give us the necessary context to understand what people mean. The fact that we might use figures of speech etc. can easily fool people into thinking that we must be more competent with pragmatics than we really are, because we have "passed the test" for understanding other kinds of non-literal speech.

It is also not often discussed how often the problem can work the other way around - that the people around us read pragmatic content into our language when it isn't intended. A common complaint that I hear, and which I've experienced many times, is people reading value judgements into words which were intended merely to point out something factual, or taking honestly asked questions as signs of trying to be awkward or troublesome.

This does overlap with the non-verbal communication skills mentioned in the article. As well as sometimes being a direct form of communication, body language and eye-contact can often be pragmatic cues which are intended to modify the meaning of the words which are spoken (e.g. winking at someone to highlight sarcasm.) I think that research into language in autistic people does need to recognise more how verbal and non-verbal communication work hand in hand to communicate a single intent, rather than viewing them as isolated impairments; for example, I do well in isolated tests of identifying moods from photographs of faces, yet my ability to do this in conversation and with background distractions is poor, presumably because my brain can't handle the multiple processes involved all at the same time.

colina wrote:
It's an uncomfortable requirement to keep thinking about what does she mean ? What is his point? Is she sarcastic? Why doesn't he just say what he means?

Yes, this can be a huge cognitive load on the brain, especially when combined with trying to suppress stims and retain focus despite sensory hyper-sensitivity. It also hampers the timing of conversations so that it's difficult for them to flow properly; for example, I often get spoken over due to pauses where I am searching for the right words, or can't read implicature (e.g. who is the "he" or "that" being referred to) because I am still processing a sentence from seconds or minutes ago which contains the necessary information. I'm sure that this is a big cause of the exhaustion that many of us experience from socialising and which can tip some of us into meltdown or burning out.


_________________
When you are fighting an invisible monster, first throw a bucket of paint over it.


colina
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 27 Jan 2017
Gender: Male
Posts: 40
Location: Topanga CA

15 Sep 2018, 6:20 pm

I apologise for this late response. Unexpected stuff came into my life and taken my time.

My intention was to find anybody on WP wanting to discuss a central issue of aspie life: Frequent misunderstanding of
someone elses INTENTIONs within conversations, and thus relationships. But it seems, there's little interest. It's a difficult deficiency for most folks to grasp. Some aspie researchers suspect that not grasping intentions may be the major factor in aspie communication breakdowns. Lack of interest on WP frustrates me---especially when I see so many long discussions on trivia. Am I missing something?


_________________
When I’ve done something that makes a relationship get better or makes someone like themselves more -- it makes me like myself more.


Ban-Dodger
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Jun 2011
Age: 1021
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,820
Location: Возможно в будущее к Россию идти... можеть быть...

15 Sep 2018, 6:32 pm

Take your time; not all of us can (or even will) [always] respond immediately.
What you might be «missing» is the fact that there are different age-groups on these forums.
Even amongst the so-called «aspie» culture, which is considered a «sub-culture» of society,
similar to how deaf people may form their own sub-cultures within society,
you should also expect that within so-called «aspie» culture are further sub-cultures.

Not all so-called aspies are going to hold the same interests; some spend most of their time posting on «counting» threads and other «word-games» and therefore, are less-likely to have an interest in sustained serious discussion. Some of us (like myself), have studied/researched the fields/topics/subjects related to psychology/sociology/etc., but «statistically» I still find it to be a very small percentage of W-P's population.

Anyway, I just want to say that when it comes to eye-contact, when someone is looking at me and asking me a bunch of questions as-if though it were in an «interrogative» manner, I consider that type of eye-contact to be confrontational. Almost like a crooked cop/prosecutor who is just fishing for a «reason» (any) to violate your rights.

colina wrote:
I apologise for this late response. Unexpected stuff came into my life and taken my time.

My intention was to find anybody on WP wanting to discuss a central issue of aspie life: Frequent misunderstanding of
someone elses INTENTIONs within conversations, and thus relationships. But it seems, there's little interest. It's a difficult deficiency for most folks to grasp. Some aspie researchers suspect that not grasping intentions may be the major factor in aspie communication breakdowns. Lack of interest on WP frustrates me---especially when I see so many long discussions on trivia. Am I missing something?


_________________
Pay me for my signature. 私の署名ですか❓お前の買うなければなりません。Mon autographe nécessite un paiement. Которые хочет мою автографу, у тебя нужно есть деньги сюда. Bezahlst du mich, wenn du meine Unterschrift wollen.


thoughtbeast
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Oct 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,337
Location: Scarlet Jungle of Krypton

15 Sep 2018, 7:04 pm

colina wrote:

My intention was to find anybody on WP wanting to discuss a central issue of aspie life: Frequent misunderstanding of
someone elses INTENTIONs within conversations, and thus relationships ... Am I missing something?

Possibly, but then I can only speak for myself.

For me personally the central issue is not that I misunderstand someone ELSE'S intentions within conversations.

It is that THEY misunderstand MY intentions within conversations.

Naturally, there's some overlap, but over the decades I've come to be able to analyze the intentions of others in conversations with greater precision, whereas they haven't been able to analyze mine any better than before.

One of my few childhood friends nicknamed me "loophole" because of my perceived ability to argue myself out of situations. The characteristics that gave me the nickname haven't changed, so whenever I point to some logical inconsistency or use nuanced language (e.g., X is often true v. usually true v. always true) I get accused of arguing for something I didn't. And when I point out the nuance, they say "There you go again, looking for a way out of it". It's as annoying now as it always was, but now I do take considerably more time in explaining the nuances at the outset to cut off that kind of nonsense later (e.g., "What I'm saying now is that X is "often" true, there are exceptions and it may not even be usually true"). I would recommend consideration of that approach for any aspie or for anyone else who experiences similar conversational difficulties.



Fnord
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 May 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 39,640
Location: Stendec

15 Sep 2018, 9:08 pm

The nice thing about science is that it is self-correcting -- even psychology ... eventually ...


_________________
You don't have to be popular to be a good person, but...
You almost always have to be a good person to be popular!


Ban-Dodger
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Jun 2011
Age: 1021
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,820
Location: Возможно в будущее к Россию идти... можеть быть...

16 Sep 2018, 1:11 am

For some reason I get these impressions that your grand-children's children will likely have ended up being grand-fathers by the time this «eventually» finally comes around. Science as a Method vs as an Institution. Kappa !

Fnord wrote:
... eventually ...


_________________
Pay me for my signature. 私の署名ですか❓お前の買うなければなりません。Mon autographe nécessite un paiement. Которые хочет мою автографу, у тебя нужно есть деньги сюда. Bezahlst du mich, wenn du meine Unterschrift wollen.


Mythos
Velociraptor
Velociraptor

User avatar

Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Gender: Male
Posts: 457
Location: England

16 Sep 2018, 9:43 pm

Fnord wrote:
colina wrote:
Science Has Been Wrong About Autistics for Years.
Science is self-correcting, and has been getting closer to the truth about autism for years, too.
I was just going to say, science isn't wrong. Scientists are wrong, not science. Sometimes not even that, it's more likely society.



colina
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 27 Jan 2017
Gender: Male
Posts: 40
Location: Topanga CA

17 Sep 2018, 5:07 pm

Ban-Dodger---Thanks for the help about the generations on WP. I'll try to be less concerned about slow responses or someone disregarding the main topic here--INTENTIONS and aspies. Maybe I'll disclose what I mean by intentions during real life conversations---or even virtual conversations on WP. Maybe that will welcome sustained discussions of this specific issue. Especially for those that have learned that Much communication breakdown begins with a failure to recognize what the other wants. Social scientists recognize six distinct Intention families. Not sure how to show them in a way that doesnt get buried in the thread--inthe fast flow of exchange on WP.

Self Disclosure: I am an ancient social scientist, and agree that it's pseudo-scientists or scientiststs abused by someones
fraudulent findings that fuckup knowledge. I'm wary of getting into a tributary on science on this thread, but most of us know that the key to good science is the capacity to ask a good theretical question and transform it to an operational hypothesis. Failure to do so is not an exception, but a common error. The public has been poorly informed about science as a method for asking questions of nature--or in my case Human Nature. Please avoid us going down this road. some think of science as an ideology or religion.
Anyway--I'll follow your advice on using WP. :)


_________________
When I’ve done something that makes a relationship get better or makes someone like themselves more -- it makes me like myself more.


colina
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 27 Jan 2017
Gender: Male
Posts: 40
Location: Topanga CA

17 Sep 2018, 5:37 pm

colina wrote:

My intention was to find anybody on WP wanting to discuss a central issue of aspie life: Frequent misunderstanding of
someone elses INTENTIONs within conversations, and thus relationships ... Am I missing something?

Possibly, but then I can only speak for myself.

For me personally the central issue is not that I misunderstand someone ELSE'S intentions within conversations.

It is that THEY misunderstand MY intentions within conversations.




Thoughtbeast on Misunderstanding Intentions during conversations. The aspie and neurotypical are the Villians
Over the years, Ive observed that misundersatanding intentions is an intimacy breaker for just about everyone, but especially for spectrum folk. ====What does she want to know, want to show, want me to do, want me to reveal, want me to keep quiet about. ?

Does that feel real? Those are some major confusions during close conversations that I've had. My guess is the list is quite common.

Someone help me click the best keys for responding--pleasse. :?


_________________
When I’ve done something that makes a relationship get better or makes someone like themselves more -- it makes me like myself more.


B19
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 9,339
Location: New Zealand

21 Sep 2018, 5:39 am

There is one very major reason why scientific claims about autistics have been wrong for years. The vast bulk of the research that the claims are based on was done (and is still done) on male children. Then those findings are simplistically applied to adults willy nilly, which is not scientifically valid. Adults are very different from children, and generalising conclusions from samples of male children is a fundamental scientific error. It is an error so basic that it is taught to undergraduates at a very early level of university study.

If you don't use representative samples and control sampling error, then you get hopelessly flawed research results. It's that simple.

A second reason is the high rate of misdiagnosis where for example other conditions like ADHD or Faulty X Syndrome and so on are assumed to be autism and so the biased samples are further corrupted.

Science has its head in the sand on this, and because it is easier to round up "diagnosed child" samples of boys, the incompetence continues to provide a basis for false and misleading claims.

Until sampling techniques in autism reach the same standard as other areas of science, take all claims from with a grain of salt.. Why autism researchers are allowed to get away with it unchallenged is a mystery to me.



ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 62
Gender: Male
Posts: 19,553
Location: Long Island, New York

21 Sep 2018, 11:40 am

B19 wrote:
Why autism researchers are allowed to get away with it unchallenged is a mystery to me.

A sense of desperation and crises leads people to cut corners because it has to be solved NOW. Related there is a lot of fame and fortune coming to the people who “solve” the “autism epidemic”.

While there is a sense of crises about other things like cancer they are usually viewed as things that afflict older people. People are generally much more emotional about children and autism is still seen as manly a childrens disease.

Also social “deficits” are viewed as worse than physical ones by most.


_________________
Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

"The lunatics have taken over the asylum" - The Specials


naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Posts: 21,359
Location: temperate zone

21 Sep 2018, 12:34 pm

colina wrote:
I apologise for this late response. Unexpected stuff came into my life and taken my time.

My intention was to find anybody on WP wanting to discuss a central issue of aspie life: Frequent misunderstanding of
someone elses INTENTIONs within conversations, and thus relationships. But it seems, there's little interest. It's a difficult deficiency for most folks to grasp. Some aspie researchers suspect that not grasping intentions may be the major factor in aspie communication breakdowns. Lack of interest on WP frustrates me---especially when I see so many long discussions on trivia. Am I missing something?

It would be nice if would give an example of WTF youre talking about. An example of you (or of some hypothetical autistic) not understanding the intensions of someone else in a conversation. Its hard for me to grasp what that even means.

What Thoughtbeast said- that others misunderstanding you/my intensions is more common, and more easy for me to imagine happening.

For example:as a kid I might correct some fact that someone said - and the person might flip out - and interpret my tweaking of that little fact as an attack on the whole belief system behind what they said, and get emotional, and defensive, and get red in the face. And the conversation would go nowhere.