Neuroscientists pinpoint specific social difficulties in people with autism

Neuroscientists pinpoint specific social difficulties in people with autism
Credit: Caltech/Lance Hayashida
(Medical Xpress) -- People with autism process information in unusual ways and often have difficulties in their social interactions in everyday life. While this can be especially striking in those who are otherwise high functioning, characterizing this difficulty in detail has been challenging. Now, researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have isolated a very specific difference in how high-functioning people with autism think about other people, finding that—in actuality—they don’t tend to think about what others think of them at all.

This finding, described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sheds light on what researchers call "theory of mind" abilities—our intuitive skill for figuring out what other people think, intend, and believe. One key aspect of such abilities in terms of social interactions is to be able to figure out what others think of us—in other words, to know what our social reputation is. It is well known that social reputation usually has a very powerful influence on our behavior, motivating us to be nice to others.

The Caltech team capitalized on this strong effect by asking people to make real money donations to UNICEF under two conditions: alone in a room or while being watched by a researcher. 

"What we found in control participants—people without —basically replicated prior work. People donated more when they were being watched by another person, presumably to improve their social reputation," explains Keise Izuma, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech and first author on the study. "By contrast, participants with autism gave the same amount of money regardless of whether they were being watched or not. The effect was extremely clear."

To be certain that the subjects with autism really were not thinking about their social reputation in the presence of the other person—as opposed to simply ignoring that onlooker—the researchers showed that everyone, both controls and people with autism, do better on simple math tasks when being watched than when alone.

"This check was important," says Ralph Adolphs, Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and professor of biology at Caltech and the principal investigator on the paper, "because it showed us that in people with autism, the presence of another person is indeed registered, and can have general arousal effects. It tells us that what is missing is the specific step of thinking about what another person thinks about us. This is something most of us do all the time—sometimes obsessively so—but seems to be completely lacking in individuals with autism."

The findings provide a much more precise picture of how people with autism process social information, says Adolphs, and is important not only for use in diagnostic and interventional therapies, but also for educating the general public about the psychology of autism.

Next up for the team: MRI studies to investigate what occurs in the brain during such social interactions, as well as other investigations into the biology and psychology of autism.

Other authors on the PNAS paper, "Insensitivity to social reputation in autism," are Colin Camerer, Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics at Caltech and Kenji Matsumoto, a neuroscientist at Tamagawa University in Japan. The work was supported by a Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, the National Institute of Mental Health, a fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellows, and a Global Centers of Excellence collaborative grant from the Japanese government to Caltech and Tamagawa University.

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Oct 11, 2011
Idk, doesn't seem so cut and dry for me. I don't care what people think about me or what I do, hence my peace of mind, at the same time, I am empathic to a great degree.

I wouldn't say empathy " seems to be completely lacking in individuals with autism ", I would say that we logically examine other viewpoints and discard what is unecessary, which just happens to cover a broad span.

You'll find we don't usually wear things like jewelry, makeup, fancy clothes, yet we can know all sorts of things about them due to compulsive autodidactism, it just means we don't see a rational need for them.

If anything, most autistics operate under cold hard logic.

Oct 11, 2011
You'll find we don't usually wear things like jewelry, makeup, fancy clothes, yet we can know all sorts of things about them due to compulsive autodidactism, it just means we don't see a rational need for them.

The psychologist told me I don't have Aspergers or ADD, but I meet that description exactly.




I also meet these exactly.

I usually don't re-watch movies, because in most cases I have so much of it memorized that I already know what's happening.

The other day I talked about that on an unrelated thread, and I mentioned how I had the Alien:Resurrection movie almost completely memorized, even though I've only seen it all the way through just once.

Two days ago, it so happens that they had the Alien series on television, and I started in on Alien 3.


Oct 11, 2011
After around 30 minutes, I think, I quit watching the movie, because I found I had so much of it memorized, from just seeing it all the way through 1 time, that It wasn't even really entertaining.

I remembered specific details about almost every scene, including the dialogue and inflection of the speaker's voice.

"synesthesia" comes in, because it's actually hard fo rme to seperate the visual and audio compenent memories. Like, if I remember the visual compent, I will remember the audio component. In my memory I "see" the visual component, exactly like the original image, and then I "hear" the audio component in exact tone and inflection, although the visual is much, much easier to remember than the audio.

Like the J.G. Wentworth Commercials with the operas?

I can see and hear most of that running in my head, sometimes on-demand, but over night, it was just like automatic and describe the physical characteristics of most of the people and their clothing.

Oct 11, 2011
Anyway, I don't want to hijack this thread like I did the one the other day, but I think I really do need some sort of second oppinion.

The concentration problems this causes are just unfair at times.

I can describe the visual events, not always the dialogue, from movies I have not seen for 5 or more years, accurately and KNOW it's right.

I didn't realize I had this stuff memorized so well, untill a couple nights ago when Alien: Resurrection and Demolition Man unlocked in my mind, and then I could pretty much just "navigate" the videos (not every frame, but most scenes anyway,) and "see" the imagery, and in many cases the dialogue, which in some cases plays back like a tape recorder.

I did not know this wasn't "normal" until a few days ago.

But it's also incredibly distracting at times, because I can't always turn it "off" when it happens, or it may take several days to wind it down in my mind.

Oct 11, 2011
Yep, I know. I " suffer " from eidetic memory too. It can make the world take on a very predictable,boring nature sometimes, but also has been a valuable tool once I realised how to use it.

Synesthesia, I think, is not as rare as people would like to believe. We all have unique methods of memory recall and assigning subject relations, synesthesia should really be explored, especially with teaching.

People do not make the time, or cannot make the time for mental training due to lifestyles/obligations, as a result there is incredible potential lost with many.

Use it or lose it.

Sometimes social difficulties are from even simpler causes, in my case, my eyesight is horrible, but nobody, not even me knew untill I was 12. Nobody thought to have my eyes tested, I thought blurry was normal. I thought it was odd, but also thought everybody's world was blurry so I never said anything about it. This contributed greatly to social difficulties for me, being HFA compounded things.

Oct 11, 2011
Hmph. I was diagnosed as having Asperger's. But I am also preoccupied with what others think of me (which doesn't exactly fit with the diagnosis). I think I'm also empathetic, which also doesn't fit the diagnosis. And after speaking with my psychiatrist further, the diagnosis has since been changed to ADHD, but that doesn't exactly fit me either. And it is possible that a person can be both. It's confusing unless you're an expert in the area.

Oct 11, 2011
Looking at the paper and particularly their fig 2, it appears that many of the controls acted like those with autism while some with autism were like controls. The reported findings only concern group average differences in behavior--individual behavior tells a more complex story.

Oct 11, 2011
Foucault was correct in his critical views of modern psychiatry,imo. My experiences enlightened me to the fact that many people that work in these areas are themselves suffering delusions, thus any analysis from them is itself structured on conformation bias, and flawed. Many times merely for monetary gains, especially with prescribing medicines. My whole town is on some sort of goofball pill combo.

Psychoanalysists, psychiatrists and psychologists are all prone to " suffer " the same things they strive to define in other people.

What's that old saying,..It take's one to know one.


Oct 11, 2011
Why is this behavior abnormal? Since when is doing things out of principle a dysfunction?

Could it be that people with autism are empathically aware, but choose to operate based on a system of reason instead of crowd-driven behavior?

Isn't this behavior altogether something disgusting in "normal" people, showing how fake they really are and willing to change their behavior (and beliefs) regarding what's right/wrong depending on the crowd their in?

Oct 11, 2011
Could it be that people with autism are empathically aware, but choose to operate based on a system of reason instead of crowd-driven behavior?
The jocks and the neuro-normals are the majority in our democracy. Hence, they get to decide who's sick or abnormal.

At the same time, the community is becoming hypersensitive to the smallest [even imagined] hint of racism.

Oct 11, 2011
Isn't this behavior altogether something disgusting in "normal" people, showing how fake they really are and willing to change their behavior (and beliefs) regarding what's right/wrong depending on the crowd their in?

Normal people are "fake" because of peer pressure and hidden motivations, greed, etc.

That doesn't mean that an Aspergers or Autistic would never lie, because some of them can and do.

I would say that I've hardly ever done anything just because of peer pressure. There may have been one or two exceptions, but for the most part, in the past I couldn't care less what other people think of me.

Either they are going to like you for who you are, or they are going to hate you, or somewhere in between. In any case, if you are not true to yourself, then the other person doesn't "really" like you anyway. They like a mask.

Unfortunately, many people are content to like a mask, and content to be liked because of their own mask. I am not.

Oct 11, 2011
Why is this behavior abnormal? Since when is doing things out of principle a dysfunction?

Doing things out of principle is not a dysfunction.

Autistics are not apathetic out of a "principle".

They have a disability which causes them to have little or no concept or awareness of extroversion or empathy, and they may also have physical impairments as well, such as poor motor control.

Aspergers and Savant Syndrome are not exactly the same thing, but they are classified as "Autism Spectrum Disorders".

Oct 11, 2011
Interestingly, I just noticed from a wiki article that Daniel Tammet had another hobby that I share with him: Making up new languages by combining unique aspects of other languages.

In my case, I was introduced to this through cryptography and through J.R.R. Tolkien, and I probably started doing it as mimicking Tolkien.

tolkien and Lewis used to make up words by rotating consonants and vowels, and then applying other rules, such as conjugations from other languages.

I used to do that on my own also, rotate an English word, and then if appropriate, use a conjugation rule from Spanish.

It's an easy way to make up a fictitious language for a novel or a campaign in a game.

Consonants to consonants, vowels to vowels.

for example, this very odd coincidence:




1 left
3 left
1 right
3 right
1 left
add a silent "e"


1 L
1 L
1 L
1 L
1 L
2 L (Y as a vowel)

Oct 11, 2011

If I want to play with the word "Run" in an infinitive form, "To run" then I might apply Rot 1, to make a new base word.

"Run" becomes "Syp".

then I want to apply a standard ending to the word, to put it into a coded infinitive form, but I don't want to use "-ir, er, ar, or," etc, as that would be too obvios, so I make something else up, and maybe add a connecting vowel rule as well.

Now we have "Sypoim".

Which become my infinitive form of "To Run" in my fictitious language. Remember, I'm using english word, rotated right, but applying spanish grammar and syntax, only I coded the spanish part in "nonsense" so the reader wouldn't recognize it.

Now, if I wanted to conjugate "Sypoim" into different tenses, I'd make up a table of unique forms.

Now if I want to do dialogues of characters in their "native" language, I would have a table of all the words I'd need, and their forms as appropriate, and convert the dialogue from english to the language.

Oct 11, 2011
As a high functioning autistic, I concur. We will always act in the same manner wether we are being watched or not. We have no concern of what others think of us. We leave it to others to be concerned, or not, of what we think of them. In the end, our reality is that we will do exactly as we think best for us and those we love, regardless of other people's opinion of us, or society's expectations of us. This allows us to be 'brutally honest'; which often gets us into trouble. Society seems to think that there are 'jusification' to lie on occasion. Autistics do not think there is ever justification to lie. Life is complex enough as it is; it is simply too confusing for us to lie, even to spare someone's sensibilities. If you cannot take the truth, then you sure won't be able to handle a lie when you discover it. And lies are always discovered eventually.

Oct 12, 2011
As someone with both ADS & ADHD, all I can say is: generalised, absolutist rubbish! I may not usually care what others think of me, but that doesn't stop me from wondering what impression I am making and what this is causing them to feel towards me as a result. I've found that it pays to pay attention to these kinds of things, as it is too easy to be blindsided by a reaction or a treatment (of you), that you cannot 'protect' yourself emotionally against. Having said that, I too, have high empathy and intuition; I am just rather limited (by the ASD and ADHD) in how much I can take advantage of them. The original narrow description of AS and autism in general (as defined by Dr Asperger) has long been broadened. It has been recognised for quite a while (by at least some) that not all with the condition can be tarred with the same brush, in terms of every symptom. Just because they are getting a certain result, this does not mean that everybody is presenting the same reason for behaving...

Oct 12, 2011 a certain manner. It is a behavioural mechanism that is often peculiar to a condition and not to be confused as indicating a single mode of functioning. This little fact seems to have slipped past the good researchers. Have they ever thought of ever ASKING autistic people about THEIR understandings of why they do something the way they do? I for one tend to be highly introspective and self-aware; it helps to know oneself well, in order to be able to 'logic' out, what the senses have missed. I also know for a fact that my motivations for behaving in the above ascribed manner are a little more complex than the simplicism that they are attempting to convince us to swallow here. This is not the first time that I have seen articles like this, where the researchers had such condescending attitudes &, frankly, I find it insulting.For all you others out there: Be true to yourselves and do the best that you can to be the best that you can be.Even when others try to tell you that you can't

Oct 12, 2011
I also try to pay attention what impact my actions might have, because hurting someone (especially somebody I like or even care about) is not something that I like to do. I tend to feel bad for that person, as well as feeing the emotional response of sadness and upset at myself for having caused it. This cuts equally for emotional as well as physical pain. THAT is an empathic response, regardless of how well I can actually express it. We don't all fit into the same box, even within the same subgroupings. It's not called a spectrum for nothing. Maybe they need to go back and re-examine the details, instead of just assuming that they know it all. There. I needed to get that out. For once. HAH!
Regards, DH66 (And yes, the raw nerve does feel better. For now)

Oct 12, 2011

Your post highlights something about me as well.

I also know for a fact that my motivations for behaving in the above ascribed manner are a little more complex than the simplicism that they are attempting to convince us to swallow here. This is not the first time that I have seen articles like this, where the researchers had such condescending attitudes &, frankly, I find it insulting

I think I need a second opinion, just to be honest.

I know that when I look at "symptoms" I can't always say "everything" is like me, but I know that there are many similarities.

Hush is saying use conditions to support definitions.

Well, if you don't "know" a definition, all you can do is recognize it when you see it, and say, "yes, I'm a bit like that," or, "I'm a lot like that," or, "that describes me exactly."

People never seem to ask me the right questions, and when I try to describe myself, they get hung up on the wrong words and details, but then, so do I.

Oct 12, 2011
I've done a lot of research into anything I discovered by searching or by accident which had similar symptoms or descriptions to what I experience.

It's true you can't always self diagnose, but damnit the symptom is what it is, whether or not you want to label it with the same classification.

Isn't repetitive behavior a classic sign of Aspergers?

With me, there is always repetitive behavior, especially in things I like, like the obvious video games, but also in other personal interests.

With me, I am absorbed into gaming, because it is obviously highly visual, but also interactive. There is sight, touch, sound, and of course cognition: planning your next move, recall/recognition of events and responding to them, etc.

They talk about video game addiction, and I know that describes me.

I haven't played anything in quite some time, except Chess, though, but I'm still "addicted" because my memory plays the animations and sound effects back all the time.

Oct 12, 2011
I can remember specific games of Starcraft which I played online, since even before the Replay feature was added.

I must have played 10,000 games of Starcraft: Broodwar online under different screen names, and I can remember many of them, too many, specifically. The basic openings of the game, the evolution of the game, how I won or lost, what the race matchup was, specific battles within a game including micro-management, in some cases, the names of all or most of the players in the game, even if it was random team in public.

Or back in the 80's, beat "Contra" without losing a life; have the levels memorized maybe up to 80 percent "recall" and the remainder recognition. Have the level names memorized to this day, didn't realize it till I thought about it.

Base 1
Base 2

And can describe how to beat the bosses without getting hit.

It's not about the feat, it's about the issue of "Near Total Recall" visually anyway.

Oct 12, 2011
And returning to Starcraft...

I modded that game and made campaigns for a while, none of them good enough to publish, it was just a curiosity and an interest.

Well, a few months ago, I accidentally discovered that I have most of the MPQ file archive and it's contents committed to memory, especially the sound effects folder, even though I did not consciously try to do that.

I don't know how to describe this, and I can't exactly control it, but I "navigate" a "semi-visual" file tree interface in my mind, only there are no words, I can't remember the words exactly, because they are not always the same exact as the character or unit name as appears "in game," so my mind doesn't connect it. Can open a "folder" and unlock the sounds of that particular unit, character, or sound effect, which then play back like a *.WAV file or a tape recorder in my mind...

Oct 12, 2011
He said use condition to support the definitions.

Well, like I said, I'm trying to describe this, and you know me, I'm going to be thorough, so...

Anyway, I hope the reader can understand how a "train of thought" with me can turn into a very deep, very introverted mode where I experience an involuntary "recycling" of old and new memories in the "background", like if I was cutting grass or working, my mind is still ON all this other stuff, sorting it out, remembering, developing a new strategy or new understanding, etc, and in some cases, even when I'd rather be thinking about something else.

Ok, here's an example.

I would randomly think of a Magic: The Gathering card or card combination even though I haven't played that for many years (very nasty and expensive habit, maybe worse than drugs). Then the thouhts, the color, the game mechanics, memories of specific opponents and specific games begin to play back in my mind.

Oct 12, 2011
As an Aspie, I do have normal feelings. I just don't wear them on my sleeve.
In High School I used to worry about what everybody else thought of me, until I figured out that they were all so busy worrying about what everybody thought of *them* that they never gave a thought to me. That epiphany was especially liberating, and something beyond the scope of most non-Aspies.

Oct 12, 2011
There is no 'right' question. The best questions are questions that simultaneously provide an answer.
No one knows if those 'best' questions are 'right'.
And no one knows if the answers to those 'best' questions are 'right'.
Best questions are fun. Coming closest to whatever we understand under the label 'learning'.

No offense, but I would quite disagree when you're conducting an interview in the form of a doctor or some other counsellor or authority.

I was not describing those memories or experiences as being arrogant, sorry I came off that way. What I was describing is that I know NOW that it is not normal, and how it ties into a concentration problem that helps screw up my life.

I was trying to describ this problem, and I guess words fail me. Synesthesia seems to fit it, but whatever. I will list some recent examples, because this is not arrogance, nothing above anyone being good at something, but it's involuntary and often distracting and detrimental to my life.

Oct 12, 2011
Example 1:

Just a while ago, I accidentally dinged two glasses together, and this made a distinctive tone.

This immediately brought back the imagery and sound from the 1980's MacGyver episode where he unlocked a vault with a sound based combination lock, using some wine glasses, stealing diamonds, as I recall, and pouring them down the gutter.

Do you see how an ordinary action or event is immediately tied to an otherwise irrelevant memory, through some sort of spontaneous visual, audio, or word association. The new memory immediately activates an old memory, and the old memory runs to completion.

Do you see how distracting that can be in a work environment, or if I'm supposed to be concentrating or paying attention to a manager giving me instructions, or etc? It's pretty much as if I need a tape recorder to catch the things I miss, because my brain is over-loaded.

I bought a tape recorder, but I don't use it, because it only rarely happens, but then I need it and regret.

Oct 13, 2011
Hi, Hush1: I 'get' exactly what Nano is trying to say with his description, as it is based on the way many Aspies typically experience the world and it is one of the many processing filters that we (at times unfortunately) are forced to interact with it. And perhaps you have a different definition of 'irrelevant associations'. As a general definition, it could work, but what 'we' see, is an association that pops up at times when it is not only not required for the task at hand, but can even be counter-productive by distracting a train of thought or even leading one on a 'garden path', therefore making it harder to stick to what you are actually trying to accomplish. On the plus side though (if you can train yourself to use it properly in that way) it can translate to incredible creativity at times. These are often called 'intuitive leaps'. It is believed that Mr Einstein himself may well fit into this Aspie category. And an eidetic memory isn't actually a requirement either. It can...

Oct 13, 2011
...make it a lot harder though. It is also a process that is very hard at times to get under control, because you have to overcome the brain's insistence on carrying out this step to this extent. And yes, it does INSIST. Most people only have a limited amount of 'association' going on and that is why it is not a problem for them. But for some, the brain will insist on linking subsequent associations with the first one and then another with that one. And so on. I too like to explore the philosophical side of things, but (unlike you) unfortunately my understanding of my condition(s) comes from the cold harsh reality of examining the nature and the steps of disfunctional processes, including that of the brain. It's amazing just how complex it is. Even the mechanics involved in seemingly 'simple' actions. I very rarely come across people who have a 'real' awareness of what the intricacies involved in brain processing disorders. Btw, these often express themselves as learning disorders;...

Oct 13, 2011
..not that they only manifest themselves in a classroom. Processing disorders distort the quality of the final result as to what you pick up, how you 'digest' it & the final version of how you understand it. 'Learning' is only one part of the umbrella term: information uptake. & we do that through all our senses, every minute of the day. So, if you are a 'neuro-normal', in many ways you are lucky.
By the way, the answer to "Life, the universe and everything" is 42. ;) For those who have missed the reference, you need to read: "The hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy". It's in film too.
@tadchem: You describe me too. & I'm still learning how to fine tune that; hopefully without allowing myself to take on psychopathic traits. That part, although 'easy' (ie ignoring how others might feel) can become tempting & compelling, because it's 'simpler' to feel free to behave that way. But it doesn't make it right & it's not who I want to be. Moderation and balance is the key here. Just my view.DH66

Oct 13, 2011
Hi Hush1: I'm glad that I have been able to describe something in a way that actually gave somebody else a 'real' enlightening glimpse in my kind of world. I don't always acheive that. One good thing that AS has taught me, is not to take for granted what I think that I perceive or understand something to be. And to be very questioning. Relying on assumptions can be a deadly minefield. Too easy to create unrecognised(!) misunderstandings! As they say: "Assumptions are the mother of all stuffups". That's the polite version, btw. I guess that is what has caused my orientation in life to be understanding driven. To understand, but also to be understood. It is amazing how often ignorance based behaviour can result in thoughtless and mindless mistreatment of somebody who is 'differently enabled', but just gets classed as a weirdo as a result, and then gets dismissed as somebody not worth knowing. That is one reason why I like it when I can suceed in spreading at least some understanding...

Oct 13, 2011
...I helps lessen general ignorance about these things. As you also follow physics threads, you have probably already come across other postings of mine, where I have attempted to increase the knowledge-base of others who didn't understand some basic 'rule' or other - rather than put them down for their ignorance as so many others seem to have a habit of doing on these threads. The world would be a better place, if more were prepared to be teachers (in the sense of sharing knowledge), rather than honing their own sense of importance by mocking others for knowing less than they do. (ie kind of making yourself feel better/more powerfull by making others feel worse/stupid/powerless) & yes, knowledge IS power.
Annywayyy... Don't judge Nano too harshly with what he has written. What you are actually seeing is true 'Aspiness' in action. There is a language dysfunction as a part of the condition. An aspect of than is that we tend to interpret the meanings of words in a literal or physical...

Oct 13, 2011
...secondary meanings or contexts tend to be applied second. That is, if you have learned or understood how they even apply. Unfortunately these are things that have to be EXPLICITLY learned or taught. (btw that's also the reason that we sometimes don't 'get' certain jokes, we might be unsure of the subtle/implicit connection between the parts). In his (unintendedly - same for mine!)long description, he is literally/physically(!) describing all the little details in an attempt to convey a sense of what he is trying to communicate. It can be very difficult for an Aspie to condense & to be concise.To someone who doesn't understand this, it may look pedantic and long-winded, but can actually provide a direct insight into the inner workings of such a mind. Yes, Autistic people are VERY detail-oriented.The addiction/repetition tendencies that he describes hark back to the fact that there is a compulsive element with the condition, that can even translate to a distinct,separate disorder.DH66

Oct 13, 2011
@Nano: one useful way of expanding your sense of words/contexts & how to express yourself might be to enroll in any class (whether in college or informal) that teaches literature, or simple classes on essay writing. The techniques that this can teach you are another way of learning how to continue overcoming these shortcomings. Personally, I have found that it has helped me on my own journey of 'overcoming'. Also bear in mind that taking the time to write something, allows you the time to choose (& practise at) the most appropriate words & combinations thereof, to convey what you wish to say, unlike when you have to verbally say something. But do tell the teacher that this why you are doing the course. If they subsequently don't relate to this, then what you get out of it, will be more limited. Hope that I have given you something to think about for self-improvement purposes. Don't give up striving, no matter what they try to label you with. You are worth more than a label! Cheers,DH66

Oct 14, 2011
re: the earlier comments on 'definitions supporting conditions and vice versa' It's not quite that simple. Here is an alternate take: It could be considered more of a "Egg and Chicken" problem; the egg being the 'symptoms' and the chicken being the 'condition' It all depends on which route you take to begin the process. If for example, you were a (perhaps) a child who had no notion that anything about was NOT normal and somebody else dragged you to a doctor, who forced a label onto you and you had no idea what that implied. You also have no interest in exploring it, but treat that label as necessary inform to give out when required (ie forms). Then the effect is that you are using the condition to support the definitions (that others are relying on, to define what they might be required to offer to YOU. So, in that case, you are looking at it from the point of view of the chicken (and ignoring the egg). However, if you are like many others, you will have noticed that something is ...

Oct 14, 2011
different about yourself, or 'wrong' with you. You may even have identified what that element is (eg that you can't do certain things (perhaps keeping focused, trouble 'reading' people) that others take for granted). Perhaps you have become aware of more than one thing that appears odd to those 'others'. You begin to question what that might mean and you begin searching for answers. Eventually you come across a label (condition) or two that might give you more answers. In this case, you have approached the problem from the point of view of the egg and traced it back to the chicken. You then reverse the process. How many eggs has this chicken laid in total. Or, how many symptoms (and what kind) point back to this particular condition. NOW, you have used the condition to become aware that other behaviours or traits might actually NOT be considered 'normal' by others, but a peculiarity of your Syndrome. (a particular cluster/constellation/group of symptoms = syndrome). I should point...

Oct 14, 2011
...out that a sydrome is a medical condition, but not an illness. It can however predispose you to becoming sick more easily, usually based on what symptoms you have. You can then educate yourself more precisely & perhaps even address some of the problems. Ultimately, the condition is defined by the definitions attached to the symptoms, that have been grouped together, to create a group definition, ie the condition. Conditions in their own right can only be identified by the nature of the symptoms, not the other way around, especially as the same symptom can show up in more than one condition. Some conditions can overlap by as much as 90% & the non-matching signs become the differential for a diagnosis. In fact, one or more of the 'eggs' that you have found in 'your' cluster may well evolve into a completely separate diagnosed condition, if it gets serious enough over time. (eg anxiety) So, one could say that one of the eggs has actually hatched & grown into a new chicken. The answer..

Oct 14, 2011
... doesn't look so simple now...But I think that this kind of illustrates the process that many Aspies who were not diagnosed as children, actually go through. We made it through okay so far, but have a distinct feeling that something is not quite right - and go seeking answers; often out of sheer necessity. At the same time, we often have no idea that the way we perceive/do things is any different to the way others function, that it's not normal. After all, it's the way we've ALWAYS been. Just like you, we don't know any different. As harsh as the world has gotten for us, this IS our normal. It doesn't mean though, that we don't want to do what we can to improve things (where we can). The 'label' and its descriptions give us a structure for this. That is what I use it for anyway. My description got kind of long again, but then again, it might provide some more food for thought for those who are interested, at least.
Best Regards to All, DH66

Oct 14, 2011
If the mind had total recall, then all psychology vanishes. All the definitions and labeling vanishes. What remains are your associations in the broadest and narrowest sense.
Hate to say it, Hush, but the existence or non-existence of psychology has absolutely nothing to do with how much recall ability a mind has.There are a small number of people in the world who have exactly that condition and they tend to find it very hard to live with.Remember that there is also poor control associated with this kind of memory.Psychiatry is about the brain & its processes (usually more in the 'abnormal' functioning thereof). Psychology is more about the emotions and what can go wrong there (including influences by the dysfunctional brain).The psychology is in how you are able to deal with the effects on your psyche, when having total recall, not the fact of having total recall. As I said in the beginning, the latter has nothing to do with it.I'm not quite sure what else you are trying to say

Oct 14, 2011
Hi Hush: I agree - in principle - with the general nature of your statement. The first part is definition of what makes you, you. I'm not sure though, that all associations can be classed only from a physical point of view. Making associations often require an emotional component (eg like, hate, fear this, because I associate it with this kind of good/bad effect) to determine their nature. PTSD is a perfect example of this. The origin is psychological, but the final product is physical changes in the brain, that 'overconnect' the associations with trauma. Kind of the reverse of what you are describing. Associations and psychiatric conditions can and often do act as filters for subsequent associations, regardless of their starting point. Or pathology.
Cheers, DH66

Oct 14, 2011
That is called your associations. Association is to psychology and psychiatry what the visual is for geometry - it doesn't exist without it.

That statement is kind of at odd with what you said previously about psychology vanishing with total recall. Total recall is REPLETE with associations. You can't have it both ways. Are sure that you aren't over-entangling yourself here? (My association: A cat wrapping itself up in a ball of wool, while attempting to play with it...) ;) :) Hehe DH66

Oct 14, 2011
You've got to know what that figure actually looks like first or at least what kinds of features it has, before you draw it, let alone before you can assign a species name! If I said to you: draw a martian, but be realistic, you would either have to image a possibility (but without knowing how realistic the image is going to be) or be sitting there scratching your head and asking: "What's a martian supposed to look like??"

-As a thought experiment only!-: How would you take it, if I (ie the doctor) labelled you schizophrenic, but refused to tell you what the symptoms were. How much would you be able to appreciate what that implies for you. You would have trouble even relating to the condition and certain would reject the association that the doctor is trying to convince you to accept. Any questions that you might ask, can ONLY be answered in terms of the symptom cluster typical for that condition! Cheers, DH66

Oct 14, 2011
Total recall is not possible. A hypothetical is never at odds with anything.

Hypothetical?? Try this one for size:
and this one:
I could probably come up with more, but I think this will do for starters. Btw, I used the keywords: total recall memory.
Enjoy, DH66

Oct 14, 2011
@Hush1: The boy in the youtube clip is an autistic savant. There is also a full documentary from which this clip is taken. I have already seen it some time ago on TV.
Btw.(to be taken as a comment on difference on modes of functionning, NOT as a put-down) I too, often have my head in the clouds, but I like to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. Any argument, no matter how abstract should still be grounded at least to some extent in reality, or else it loses any value or bearing that it might have it. As fun and enjoyable as it might be to explore the abstract; in it's purest form it serves as an exercise for the mind only. The rules governing reality are much stricter than the one's governing the abstract. And the abstract has very few of them. You can make them what you want. Unfortunately, if you then want to use them in an argument, you then need to make sure that the other party knows what they are too. Or they are not going to be able to relate. With what you have been...

Oct 14, 2011
...expressing during your last few posts, I kind of get the feeling that your feet have left the ground, while you have been hanging on to a hot air balloon that is heading into the stratosphere. I'm finding that I am nearly unable to discern some of the rules that you have constructed for making your arguments -and, as much as I am wanting to enjoy the debate :( - I'm wishing that you would deflate that balloon; at least enough so that your feet get a bit closer to the ground. The song about "Major Tom" and ground control is actually starting to go through my head. I don't suppose that you have a pin handy? And be willing to use it? Please?

Oct 14, 2011
I don't actually know what 'yellow press' is. It kind of feels that you are now getting dismissive of me, just like in the process that I mentioned in my earliest posts. Nice of you to demonstrate. I write so much because I too have trouble with expression. It is a definition of a symptom that I happen to have. I thought that I made that clear earlier. Obviously less than I thought. Oh,well what else is new? Par for the course. It takes me more words to describe things, especially detail. Just like Nano. And I don't think you ought to be putting me down for THAT.
As far as total gestational recall is concerned, I would have thought that we wouldn't have even needed to go there, as the brain is not even remotely developed enought during a good part of that gestation for that to be even possible. I don't believe every last detail that I hear either. Give me some credit! DH66

Oct 14, 2011
Psychoanalysis comes after you have diagnosed the problem.. or else what are you analysing?
"not the picture someone drew of you" where did you see write that wording?
-I didn't 'need' a debate. It turned into one, whether you admit it or not.
-A debate doesn't automatically mean that it's an argment.(if that's what you define a debate as) Semantics maybe, but an important distinction.
-Internal mental state. Is that what you thought I was describing?? I was describing a RELATIONSHIP, in physical terms, trying to let you know that I could only make limited sense of your arguments All I wanted, was to be able to converse on the same wavelength as you! What has that got to to with your inner mental state? I don't exact care about that; I was more interested in having an interesting, intellectual and novel conversation. Nothing to do with emotional mirroring back at myself. That's all! But I've you're not interested.... oh well...

Oct 14, 2011
Again, you feelings are misleading you about me being dismissive. The credit I give you is my time. Nothing else is of value. If you attempt to live up to the labels given to you, you will remain the way you are.

If someone could tell how to function outside of those labels, they would be giving me a miracle cure..I can no more function as a neuronormal than what you could function as an autistic person.They constrain me whether I like it or not, whether I even admit to them or not.I can't just 'will my way out of it" It doesn't work that way.It is sometimes said that some people are off the planet, but that an autistic persons lives on their own planet. That is meant to describe the difference in functioning between the two, not for you to have another go at me.I do appreciate your time, but to insist that it be done on your terms alone, is not helpful; you are more able to shift your mode of thinking toward me than what I am to you.I would love to be able to get optimum value.

Oct 14, 2011
What is your particular definition of 'script'; beyond the primary, physical description? I know that there are multiple secondary contextual meanings, but I'm unable to define it from the given context alone.
Cheers, DH66

Oct 14, 2011
Ah. I wasn't familiar at all with that definition. No wonder. It's not one that is in common usage among people not of that profession. If that is what you mean by it, then I can but agree with what you have said. Bearing in mind, of course that it is the nature of threads to mimic spoken conversations and that if one has the inclination to 'compose' in an original manner, to express original ideas, then this would not be the best place to do it. Then one would sit down in peace and quiet and reflect more, to enable true 'crafting' to take place. That works better as a solitary occupation than for a fast conversation. But that's okay too. (said I, reflecting on that part of the conversation) Thank you for your time too, Good Night, DH66

Oct 14, 2011
Dark Horse:

I saw that documentary and I'm familliar with Daniel Tammet.

That's why I KNOW something is similar between me and him, regardless of what the psychologists say. Hell, they were't even familliar with his case, and that should be a modern textbook case of high functioning savant syndrome.

Daniel's memory is better than a camera for God's sake.

He memorized pi to many thousands of digits in just a few days. Can I do anything lik that? Well, not with text and digits, but I can memorize an entire movie or a video game. I wonder how many bytes worth of visual memory I have crammed in my head?

Daniel can identify 4 and 5 digit numbers and tell whether they are prime or not, in his head within about 5 to 10 seconds, etc. Only he claims he wasn't taught to do that, that his mind just instinctively navigates a visual landscape and spits out the answer.

Oct 14, 2011
The discovery channel documentary of Daniel Tammet was not "Yellow Press".

It was based on peer reviewed science.


Tammet's memory, mathematical and linguistic abilities have been studied by some of the world's leading neuroscientists at California's Center for Brain Studies and the UK's Cambridge Autism Research Centre [13] and have been the subject of several peer-reviewed scientific papers

Like I said, I can't do most of what he can do, but I can probably do a few things better.

I can actually do prime factors of 4 an 5 digit numbers in my head, and I can find prime numbers of 4 and 5 digits.

I can exponentiation of 2 digit numbers to the 6th and 7th power in my head.

What really freaked me out when I watched this was the doing math in your head, because I've always been like that. If I see a large number, I often instinctively start searching for factors.

Oct 19, 2011
Hi Nano, I agree with you, about that stuff NOT being yellow press. I'm not sure whether Hush was simply being dismissiving about the genuiness of the abilities of such people, or whether he was just too quick to dismiss the articles themselves. He didn't actually justify WHY he thought that this was rubbish either. Very scientific. I can't do pi to many places either. But like you, I love doing maths in my head. My mind tends to 'see' (literally like a mental white board) the process & work it out. Apparently, mental visual processing is only one step below being able to shortcut to 'seeing' the answer as soon as the question is given. That is supposed to be the top level of processing ability of the brain. I'm only limited by how many digits or numbers I can hang onto at any one time.The searching for factors could well be related to the fact that 'we' have a strong tendency to see or seek out patterns in things & factoring(I tend to do it too, as a game)is a type of pattern too.DH66

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