Who hijacked the neurodiversity definition and why?

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Mona Pereth
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26 Feb 2021, 6:13 am

rdos wrote:
Pfuhl, G., & Ekblad, L. (2018, July 22). Neurodiversity traits linked to Neanderthal admixture. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/w4nh5


This article contains the following:

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Behavioural traits associated with neurodiversity (ND score) were most prevalent among participants indicating Eurasian ancestry and less prevalent among African and African-American participants. This data is less in favour for a single migration of modern humans out of Africa.

Do you also ask people about their parents' social and economic class?

I would expect people from poor and working-class families to be under more pressure to suppress their autistic-like traits than people from middle and upper class families.

(Examples: People from middle and upper-class families are more likely to have sufficient educational advantages to get into careers like academia or accounting, where a modicum of autistic traits might be an advantage. Also, poor people are more likely to grow up in noisy neighborhoods, forcing them to try to suppress their sensory sensitivities as best they can.)

Given current economic disparities between most people of African descent and most people of Eurasian descent (at least in the English-speaking world), any study comparing the two needs to rule out present-day economic (and other situational) factors.

In any case, one study does not constitute a well-established scientific theory. Has anyone else done studies based on your hypothesis?


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26 Feb 2021, 6:49 am

Wait so that test was invented by someone who believes in mind reading & probably lacks a medical background...

Last time I take that test seriously then.

Someone wants to know if I'm autistic or not, they can ask about my diagnosis. Which was Asperger's syndrome.


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rdos
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26 Feb 2021, 7:09 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
Do you also ask people about their parents' social and economic class?

I would expect people from poor and working-class families to be under more pressure to suppress their autistic-like traits than people from middle and upper class families.

(Examples: People from middle and upper-class families are more likely to have sufficient educational advantages to get into careers like academia or accounting, where a modicum of autistic traits might be an advantage. Also, poor people are more likely to grow up in noisy neighborhoods, forcing them to try to suppress their sensory sensitivities as best they can.)

Given current economic disparities between most people of African descent and most people of Eurasian descent (at least in the English-speaking world), any study comparing the two needs to rule out present-day economic (and other situational) factors.


Possibly, but the scores are not ratings from other people, rather what they decide to answer to the questions themselves.

Anyway, this is not the main point in the study. The main point is that differences in the strength of factor loadings on the eND and aNT factors relate to known historical links between populations and migration routes. The phylogenetic tree that can be constructed based on these differences puts the division between Europe and Asia at the top, and Africa is just a branch long down in the tree (back migration). We know that Eurasia had two human populations, Neanderthal and Denisovan.

It also puts focus on whether autism actually is manifested in the same way in East Asia as in Europe. There is some tentative evidence that some issues that are highly relevant in Europe are less relevant in Eastern Asia. There probably are other issues in East Asia that are highly relevant there but not in Europe. I have large databases for Russia and China now, and there are differences, but it's a bit hard to know if these are translation issues or real.

Mona Pereth wrote:
In any case, one study does not constitute a well-established scientific theory. Has anyone else done studies based on your hypothesis?


It's enough to present it as a hypothesis.



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26 Feb 2021, 7:14 am

KT67 wrote:
Wait so that test was invented by someone who believes in mind reading & probably lacks a medical background...


Medical background? Why would somebody with a medical background create a test that doesn't use diagnostic criteria? :roll:

The actual feature of the test is that it is not a diagnostic autism test, rather gives an indication of why people feel different. Many will be content with that information and will not seek a professional ASD evaluation.



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26 Feb 2021, 7:38 am

Perhaps the most important reason why "neurologically different" is much better than "neurodivergent" is that neurologically different might refer to the "system" (brain) as a whole and not only individual components. Neurodivergent gives associations to phylogenetic trees that are based on individual traits.



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26 Feb 2021, 8:45 am

rdos wrote:
Perhaps the most important reason why "neurologically different" is much better than "neurodivergent" is that neurologically different might refer to the "system" (brain) as a whole and not only individual components. Neurodivergent gives associations to phylogenetic trees that are based on individual traits.

Where do you get the idea that "neurodivegent" refers to individual traits?


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26 Feb 2021, 9:05 am

rdos wrote:
Nick Walker wrote:
There is no such thing as a “neurodiverse individual.” The correct term is “neurodivergent individual.”

An individual can diverge, but an individual cannot be diverse. Diversity is a property of groups, not of individuals. That’s intrinsic to the meaning and proper usage of the term diverse. Groups are diverse; individuals diverge.


I think this is just a lack of imagination.

Of course, with enough "imagination," one can make any word mean anything. Doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea.

rdos wrote:
If a set of traits contributes to diversity, people that have them can be called for diverse (bearers of the diverse traits).

This is not a customary usage of the word "diverse." When one speaks of a "group of diverse people," the usual meaning is that they differ from each other, not that they are part of some single category that differs from most other people.

rdos wrote:
Divergence is not the correct word in this context, since it implies some traits are normal and some are not. The eND traits are not non-normal, they are novel, and therefore divergence is the wrong word.

How are the "eND" traits not "non-normal"?

rdos wrote:
If somebody can come up with a better word that actually captures this in the correct way, I'd consider using it instead.

Indeed I don't recommend "neurodivergent" as a synonym for what you are now calling "eND," because "neurodivergent" is too general.

"Neurodivergent," unlike "neurodiverse," is at least an appropriate term to apply to an individual person. But, just like "neurodiverse," the word "neurodivegent" too does NOT refer to just one specific set of traits.

rdos wrote:
Nick Walker wrote:
In addition, neurodiverse does not mean “non-neurotypical.” The opposite of neurotypical is neurodivergent, not neurodiverse.


No, it's not since these are two independent spectrums. A cat is not the opposite of a dog, which people easily can understand, and so why can't they understand that eND and aNT are not opposites?

I agree that what you are now calling "eND" and "aNT" are different from each other but are not opposites. On the other hand, "neurodivegent" does mean "not neurotypical."

rdos wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
I would suggest that, instead of using any label whatsoever containing the word "neurodiverse" or "neurodiversity" to refer to a single, specific "factor" or set of traits, you use some label containing the word "autism," because autism is what the "factor" centers around


I'm moving away from using anything autism-related in my terminology since it is a term linked to medical diagnosis, just like aspie is.

"Broad autistic phenotype" is not a diagnostic label, although it is derived from a diagnostic label. You could use a similar term such as "autistic-like trait cluster."

You got in trouble for using the word "Aspie" because, although "Aspie" is not itself a diagnostic label, it is and has always been regarded (by most people, at least) as a synonym for a diagnostic label. On the other hand, "Broad autistic phenotype" (BAP) is not (and probably never will be) even a synonym for a diagnostic label; its whole point is to be "broader" than the diagnostic label. If BAP is not quite appropriate for what you have in mind, then I would suggest a term similar to but not identical to BAP.

rdos wrote:
It's also wrong since the first factor contains a lot more than just autism traits and many things that are currently not believed to even be related to autism.

Which specific traits (besides "mind-to-mind" communication, which most people don't believe even exists) does your first factor contain that are currently not believed to even be related to autism?


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 26 Feb 2021, 10:11 am, edited 6 times in total.

Mona Pereth
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26 Feb 2021, 9:23 am

rdos wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
Why? What do you see as an important difference between "neurologically different" and "neurodivergent"?


Apart from neurodivergent being a word with the wrong associations for me personally, it means we are comparing to normal. Divergence is what we have in phylogenetic trees,

In other words, "divergence" has a specific technical meaning, in genetics, contrary to what you intend?

rdos wrote:
and it implies a comparison and a close relationship between something. Neurologically different don't give me the same impression that we must compare to normal, although I would prefer a term that made this distinction even more clear. :wink:

.... which is why I would suggest a term related to autism, although I think you should use a term sufficiently original to avoid stepping on any toes.

rdos wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
Apart from the question of whether what you call "mind-to-mind communication" even exists at all in the first place, it's incorrect to say that stims have no manifestations at all in normal society. Almost everyone stims. Autistic people just tend to stim more often. (See Never heard of stimming? You probably do it….)


That's only because stims are part of the eND spectrum, and since it is a spectrum, we will find these traits in individuals that are primarily on the aNT spectrum too.

That's a valid point, at least in terms of your hypothesis.

rdos wrote:
There probably are better examples, but I cannot come up with any right now.

Mona Pereth wrote:
What do you mean by saying that this trait doesn't have a normal? According to The Majority of People Are Not Introverts or Extroverts in Psychology Today, Oct 06, 2017, most people are ambiverts, approximately in the middle between the extremes of introversion and extroversion.


So, both being introvert and extrovert is considered as being neurodivergent? In my terminology, being shy and introverted are both eND traits while being extroverted is an aNT trait. However, since these are spectrum traits too, some people will be in the middle and some at the ends.

Being an introvert or an extrovert is probably not enough, in and of itself, to categorize a person as "neurodivergent," unless it's so extreme that the person is regarded as a freak because of it.


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26 Feb 2021, 9:28 am

rdos wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
In any case, one study does not constitute a well-established scientific theory. Has anyone else done studies based on your hypothesis?


It's enough to present it as a hypothesis.

Yes, but not enough to use, as names for phenomena in today's world, terms which assume, as a given, that your evolutionary hypothesis is true.


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26 Feb 2021, 10:22 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
This is not a customary usage of the word "diverse." When one speaks of a "group of diverse people," the usual meaning is that they differ from each other, not that they are part of some single category that differs from most other people.


That's a good point. This is also why "diverse" is such a bad word, and why Nick says that autistics are very different from each others. Autistics can be very different from each other, but the point is that it's because they could have different mixtures of eND & aNT traits. If we view them as a diverse group with nothing in common, we will never understand the big picture of things.

I think this is a great argument (the best this far) for why "diverse" should not be used when describing eND.

Mona Pereth wrote:
"Broad autistic phenotype" is not a diagnostic label, although it is derived from a diagnostic label. You could use a similar term such as "autistic-like trait cluster."


Actually, BAP is used in the scientific literature and has more or less the correct associations, and so it would be possible to use for eND.

I would be distancing from the neurodiversity concept, but given how it has evolved, this might be for the best.

Mona Pereth wrote:
You got in trouble for "Aspie" because, although "Aspie" is not itself a diagnostic label, it is and has always been regarded as a synonym for a diagnostic label. On the other hand, "Broad autistic phenotype" (BAP) is not a diagnostic label; its whole point is to be "broader" than the diagnostic label. If BAP is not quite appropriate for what you have in mind, then I would suggest a term similar to but not identical to BAP.


Right. It might be appropriate. Simon Baron-Cohen has used it in research related to the AQ test, and even if I regard the AQ test as pretty poor and related to diagnostic labels, it's not a diagnostic tool and more geared toward BAP.

Mona Pereth wrote:
Which specific traits (besides "mind-to-mind" communication, which most people don't believe even exists) does your first factor contain that are currently not believed to even be related to autism?


The unusual infatuation & attachment profile comes to mind. Asexuality & gender issues are not part of diagnostic criteria, but at least nowadays are recognized as related to autism.



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26 Feb 2021, 11:28 am

rdos wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
This is not a customary usage of the word "diverse." When one speaks of a "group of diverse people," the usual meaning is that they differ from each other, not that they are part of some single category that differs from most other people.


That's a good point. This is also why "diverse" is such a bad word, and why Nick says that autistics are very different from each others. Autistics can be very different from each other, but the point is that it's because they could have different mixtures of eND & aNT traits. If we view them as a diverse group with nothing in common, we will never understand the big picture of things.

I think this is a great argument (the best this far) for why "diverse" should not be used when describing eND.

I'm glad you and I have finally reached an understanding on this point.

rdos wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
"Broad autistic phenotype" is not a diagnostic label, although it is derived from a diagnostic label. You could use a similar term such as "autistic-like trait cluster."


Actually, BAP is used in the scientific literature and has more or less the correct associations, and so it would be possible to use for eND.

To avoid stepping on Simon Baron-Cohen's toes, I would suggest that you use some variant of the term BAP, rather than BAP itself, because your concept is very similar to but not identical to Simon Baron-Cohen's concept of BAP. Perhaps RDOS-BAP?

rdos wrote:
I would be distancing from the neurodiversity concept, but given how it has evolved, this might be for the best.

You could still use the term "neurodiversity," but not as a name for one of your two factors. The term "neurodiversity" should be used to refer only to human neurological diversity, of which your two factors are both a part.


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26 Feb 2021, 3:44 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
To avoid stepping on Simon Baron-Cohen's toes, I would suggest that you use some variant of the term BAP, rather than BAP itself, because your concept is very similar to but not identical to Simon Baron-Cohen's concept of BAP. Perhaps RDOS-BAP?


The BAP has problems too, something that I think have made me not use that term. The problem is with the phenotype part. eND probably was a phenotype in the evolutionary past in Neanderthal, and aNT might be considered a phenotype given that it is part of a large majority, but autism and eND certainly are not a phenotypes. They are spectrums or clusters of traits. So, by starting to use the BAP term I might get into other problems later on. After all, phenotypes are collections of traits part of a group, and there is no such thing in autism as the traits are no longer strongly linked (only weakly).

I think a better alternative is broader autism cluster (BAC). Broader will give a hint that it is more than just the diagnosis, autism is the key "player", and cluster will suggest that the traits are correlated (but not a fixed collection as phenotype suggests).



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26 Feb 2021, 5:10 pm

rdos wrote:
I think a better alternative is broader autism cluster (BAC). Broader will give a hint that it is more than just the diagnosis, autism is the key "player", and cluster will suggest that the traits are correlated (but not a fixed collection as phenotype suggests).

BAC sounds to me like an excellent term for your idea.


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26 Feb 2021, 5:42 pm

What is the definition of hijacked?



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27 Feb 2021, 4:41 pm

I searched Google Scholar for articles about neurodiversity and BAP, and it is now clear to me that neurodiversity is a complete flop that basically has no published articles of high quality, while there are 100s of articles using BAP that are high quality.

Good article that explained the current state of neurodiversity (including all of it's inherent problems) in 2017:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 4516301361

I basically agree with their analysis, and many of the problems described are those I also have taken up here. Maybe the worse issues has to do with disability / disorder or not. A problem that is intrinsic to the neurodiversity paradigm, but which is a non-issue in my research and in BAP research. Also note that the above article mostly cites web-pages, and there actually is almost nothing that is published of it.

Good article about the usefulness of BAP:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10 ... 16.1200046

It's not only the AQ test that is used in BAP-related research, there are a few other tools too, and it is not specific to SBC only. All of the references go to published articles.

I will take the consequences of this and no longer will support the neurodiversity view. I already removed all references to neurodiversity in Aspie Quiz, using BAC and Aspie instead. I will also eventually do the same in all the articles that have not yet been published that are on Research Gate.



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03 Mar 2021, 9:23 am

rdos wrote:
I searched Google Scholar for articles about neurodiversity and BAP, and it is now clear to me that neurodiversity is a complete flop that basically has no published articles of high quality, while there are 100s of articles using BAP that are high quality.

Not sure what you mean by saying "neurodiversity is a complete flop." It's not a term used much in scientific literature, but that should not be a surprise, because it was not originally intended to be a scientific term -- except perhaps in sociology, in the context of discussing how society treats the neurologically different, but not in the context of seeking explanations for the neurological differences themselves. "Neurodiversity" always was a term intended to be used primarily in the context of the disability rights movement. See the articles about Judy Singer I referred to earlier in this thread.

rdos wrote:
Good article that explained the current state of neurodiversity (including all of it's inherent problems) in 2017:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 4516301361

Behind a paywall. I can see the abstract but not the article itself.

rdos wrote:
I basically agree with their analysis, and many of the problems described are those I also have taken up here.

No "problems" are mentioned in the abstract.

rdos wrote:
Maybe the worse issues has to do with disability / disorder or not. A problem that is intrinsic to the neurodiversity paradigm, but which is a non-issue in my research and in BAP research. Also note that the above article mostly cites web-pages, and there actually is almost nothing that is published of it.

Again this should be no surprise, given the purpose of the term.

rdos wrote:
Good article about the usefulness of BAP:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10 ... 16.1200046

It's not only the AQ test that is used in BAP-related research, there are a few other tools too, and it is not specific to SBC only.

That's good to know.

rdos wrote:
All of the references go to published articles.

I will take the consequences of this and no longer will support the neurodiversity view.

What, precisely, do you see as the "neurodiversity view" that you "no longer support"?

Or do you just mean that you will no longer be using "neurodiversity" as a synonym for "BAC"?

rdos wrote:
I already removed all references to neurodiversity in Aspie Quiz, using BAC and Aspie instead.

It's good to see that you are no longer using "neurodiversity" as a synonym for "BAC."

rdos wrote:
I will also eventually do the same in all the articles that have not yet been published that are on Research Gate.

That's good. Using appropriate scientific terminology will likely help (in a small way) your work to be taken more seriously, other factors being equal.


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