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Why is Asperger's considered a form of autism?

by GreatEscapist
Tags: asperger, autism, considered, form
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DanP
#19
Jun6-10, 07:41 AM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Thanks for posting this. I think every Aspie has some objection to some part of the diagnosis and every explanation of a certain Asperger's behavior "from the inside" that I read makes the whole issue more interesting and vivid.
Perhaps this is why they started to look at autism as a spectrum disorder. The severity of distortion in social cognition, and the resulting impairment in social life may be quite different from person to person. So perhaps its more correct to think at those cases as ranges, as opposed to points on a the neuro-typical - autism line.
GreatEscapist
#20
Jun6-10, 09:18 AM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post

What did you mean by this, though: "...sometimes disorders aren't really the biological disorder, but are compsenations for other disorders"?
That was a reply to somebody's post. oops. I thought I quoted.
GreatEscapist
#21
Jun6-10, 09:26 AM
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Quote Quote by DanP View Post
Perhaps this is why they started to look at autism as a spectrum disorder. The severity of distortion in social cognition, and the resulting impairment in social life may be quite different from person to person. So perhaps its more correct to think at those cases as ranges, as opposed to points on a the neuro-typical - autism line.
Yeah, good point. I just hate putting it into a box.

There is something that happens to me, that makes me think it is autism. And it's taken me YEARS to be able to define/recognize this- because a blind person doesn't know what seeing is until they can see.

When you get a fever, you get that closed-off, numb head feeling. Like nothing matters. (At least a lot of people do) Do you know what I'm talking about? It's when you have a high-grade fever.
You don't care what people do to you, as long as they aren't causing physical pain. YOu don't care if they make fun of you, or whatever. You just want to sleep.

THAT is EXACTLY how I feel. I don't know if that's necessarily Asperger's, but it's how I feel. And it's hard to shake. I have to concentrate to get rid of it, but I usually can't. I just end up feeling tired.

That's why if I were to think it a biological brain autism- that's how I could see it that way.
rhody
#22
Jun6-10, 11:12 AM
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Zooby, MikeK, GreatE, Aperion, AndyR, SW_VandeCarr, DanP, Pythagorean,

I have been following this thread for sometime and I must say, I really like the descriptions and personal traits discussions about aspi's. I learn more about what "is real" versus "what is clinically recognized" than by taking college courses on these subjects. I really liked zooby's observation a few posts ago:
The bulk of people with Aspergers learn quickly what others perceive to be their Aspie deficits and proclivities and work hard at covering them. It's not that rare to be surprised to find an Aspie seems to have no trouble looking you in the eye because many learn the trick of staring at a spot directly between your eyes, for example, or by taking off their glasses so they can't actually see your eyes that well, rendering them less disturbing.
That being said, I am also curious as the the underlying causes of aspberger's, autism, and now synesthesia. As for the underlying causes for autism, I invite you to have a look at these two posts, watch a short video on an experiment to prove it, and a second on brain neo-cortical simulation and a new theory (circa 2007) that explains autism (7:00 minutes into the video, New World Theory) and give me your opinions, adding to, disagreeing with, or providing different insight to the observations made by the presenters.
autism experiment
brain neo-cortical simulation
P.S. MikeK, welcome to PF, just curious, what made you take the plunge and join ?

P.P.S. 06/06/2010 I just checked both links, the second linked to the first video, I fixed it, they both work as intended now.

Rhody...
zoobyshoe
#23
Jun6-10, 11:41 AM
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Quote Quote by GreatEscapist View Post
Yeah, good point. I just hate putting it into a box.

There is something that happens to me, that makes me think it is autism. And it's taken me YEARS to be able to define/recognize this- because a blind person doesn't know what seeing is until they can see.

When you get a fever, you get that closed-off, numb head feeling. Like nothing matters. (At least a lot of people do) Do you know what I'm talking about? It's when you have a high-grade fever.
You don't care what people do to you, as long as they aren't causing physical pain. YOu don't care if they make fun of you, or whatever. You just want to sleep.

THAT is EXACTLY how I feel. I don't know if that's necessarily Asperger's, but it's how I feel. And it's hard to shake. I have to concentrate to get rid of it, but I usually can't. I just end up feeling tired.

That's why if I were to think it a biological brain autism- that's how I could see it that way.
Great stuff! Here's a question I try to ask every Aspie: do you feel uncomfortable looking into people's eyes, and if so, what is the nature of the discomfort?
rhody
#24
Jun6-10, 12:01 PM
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I have a question that involves eye contact that may or may not be related to Asperberger's. I have a friend who I have known over 20 years, and pretty well, I am pretty sure he does not have Asperberger's, and yet when he looks at you directly he doesn't keep eye contact for more than a second or two, his eye's flit back and forth in your field of view. It is very obvious, and I have never asked him about it either. When Zooby first said the eye contact incident, it popped into my mind, any ideas ?

Rhody...
zoobyshoe
#25
Jun6-10, 12:06 PM
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Quote Quote by DanP View Post
Perhaps this is why they started to look at autism as a spectrum disorder. The severity of distortion in social cognition, and the resulting impairment in social life may be quite different from person to person. So perhaps its more correct to think at those cases as ranges, as opposed to points on a the neuro-typical - autism line.
It's much more like a tree than a spectrum, if anything. There are people who are clearly autistic, then there are people who clearly have Asperger's, but then there are bunches of anomolous people who get diagnosed as being "on the spectrum" when in fact they don't fit in neatly anywhere between autism and Asperger's. They're out on their own branch of the tree. You can't start with autism, go through them, and arrive at Aspergers. You have to make a separate excursion to their branch.
zoobyshoe
#26
Jun6-10, 12:31 PM
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Quote Quote by rhody View Post
That being said, I am also curious as the the underlying causes of aspberger's, autism, and now synesthesia. As for the underlying causes for autism, I invite you to have a look at these two posts,
The presence of more cells that are smaller and more densely packed would certainly be significant. I'm not sure what to say, though, because I've seen slides of autistic neurons that show something different: very crippled looking, twisted neurons that have many fewer dendrites.

All I can speculate is that there may be several different kinds of neuronal abnormalities that all end up presenting 'autistic' symtoms.
GreatEscapist
#27
Jun6-10, 01:04 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Great stuff! Here's a question I try to ask every Aspie: do you feel uncomfortable looking into people's eyes, and if so, what is the nature of the discomfort?
Depends. I never noticed that until I got categorized into autism.

For the most part- no. If I'm having an intimate conversation, I can't look someone in the eye. If it's serious, I don't want to know what they are looking like. It's terrible.

"Hey, look at me!"
"Um, that's okay..."

But for normal things, nah. But some of my friends pick on my awkwardness. One day, they all shut up and wore weird faces and stared at me. Wouldn't say a word. Or stop looking at me.
mikekhogan447
#28
Jun6-10, 05:24 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Great stuff! Here's a question I try to ask every Aspie: do you feel uncomfortable looking into people's eyes, and if so, what is the nature of the discomfort?
I think I see what you're driving at--I've read some of your earlier posts (including the post where you made clear that you don't want this hypothesis exposed before it's confirmed/disconfirmed anecdotally). It reminds me of the "ape etiquette" one of my ethologist friends talks about. Never give eye contact to an ape because it's a sign of aggression.

I wonder if there's a hardwired or genetically encouraged brain mechanism that lends intensity to eye contact? Then again, being able to notice two eyes staring at you in the brush would be highly adaptive--predators. So, we can think about this in terms of a general mammalian "feature detector" that extracts eyes from surroundings, or a specific primate feature detector that works socially. But just-so stories are as dangerous as they are intriguing.

I agree this is a difficulty. So I would actually be doubtful that what goes wrong is "over-lateralisation" in a direct sense. --Apeiron
Yes, the "extreme maleness" brain findings seem subordinate to the personality testing findings (which led to Baron-Cohen's theory in the first place) and, of course, the gender imbalance in the Asperger's/autistic population. While the latter is easily explained if the ultimate cause is some X-linked gene or set of genes (which seems doubtful at this point), the personality results still stand--an unambiguous skew towards masculine personality traits. And at present there's no reason to think an association holds between sensory deficits and "maleness." But maybe one suggests or leads to the other.

I would say because social cognition is more difficult. And I would question the level of creative understanding as opposed to performing concrete skills like calculation and memorisation. --Apeiron
I think you're on to something. Have any of you heard of the neurologist A. R. Luria's book, "The mind of a mnemonist"? In it he describes an eidetic savant--prodigious memory, but executive skills deficits. Luria seems to think that the mnemonist's mental life, which consists in concrete, specific images rather than abstractions and generalizations, "dispossesses" him and even causes social difficulties. Temple Grandin, a famous HFA, also speaks of a memory of concrete images and sensory impressions, rather like watching a movie. This eidetic proficiency might be the flip side of an extreme sensitivity to sensory information, which can lead to unpleasant sensory overload. The sensory impressions are not chunked, abstracted, or simplified.

P.S. MikeK, welcome to PF, just curious, what made you take the plunge and join ?
I read Physorg news and decided to check out the forums (fora?). I think the level of conversation here is pretty high, so I decided it might be a good way to test out my ideas and hear others' good ideas. :)

Also, for anybody who's interested, Oliver Sacks's short documentary "Rage for Order" is a good discussion of autism. It's available on youtube.
apeiron
#29
Jun6-10, 06:11 PM
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Quote Quote by mikekhogan447 View Post
I wonder if there's a hardwired or genetically encouraged brain mechanism that lends intensity to eye contact? Then again, being able to notice two eyes staring at you in the brush would be highly adaptive--predators. So, we can think about this in terms of a general mammalian "feature detector" that extracts eyes from surroundings, or a specific primate feature detector that works socially. But just-so stories are as dangerous as they are intriguing.
Human eyes have their whites showing for a reason. Gaze is meaningful. But most probably this is an early adaptation for language and joint attention. If I'm looking at something, then you know what I'm thinking/talking about. Joint attention is one of those early infant reflexes that are a precursor to language learning. And of course a lack of JA is an early symptom of autism.

Quote Quote by mikekhogan447 View Post
Yes, the "extreme maleness" brain findings seem subordinate to the personality testing findings (which led to Baron-Cohen's theory in the first place) and, of course, the gender imbalance in the Asperger's/autistic population. While the latter is easily explained if the ultimate cause is some X-linked gene or set of genes (which seems doubtful at this point), the personality results still stand--an unambiguous skew towards masculine personality traits. And at present there's no reason to think an association holds between sensory deficits and "maleness." But maybe one suggests or leads to the other.
Lateralisation could well depend on fine grain neuro-development too. An old theory is that the left brain neurons have more narrowly connected, narrowly tuned, receptive fields, the right more broadly connected, to create a physical basis to the figure~ground, event~context, differences in left/right processing style.

So there could be a shared story concerning perceptual integration and lateralisation. For example, integration depends on cross-talk to fit perceptual objects into perceptual scenes.

But this argument would seem more to suggest a lack of normal lateralisation, rather than an exaggeration of male lateralisation. Which is why I don't see any clear answers here.

Quote Quote by mikekhogan447 View Post
I think you're on to something. Have any of you heard of the neurologist A. R. Luria's book, "The mind of a mnemonist"? In it he describes an eidetic savant--prodigious memory, but executive skills deficits. Luria seems to think that the mnemonist's mental life, which consists in concrete, specific images rather than abstractions and generalizations, "dispossesses" him and even causes social difficulties. Temple Grandin, a famous HFA, also speaks of a memory of concrete images and sensory impressions, rather like watching a movie. This eidetic proficiency might be the flip side of an extreme sensitivity to sensory information, which can lead to unpleasant sensory overload. The sensory impressions are not chunked, abstracted, or simplified.
Luria and Vygotsky are the "A team". If psychology/neurology was based just on their teachings, we would be about 100 years further down the road than we are.

But anyway, this lack of digested perception is the key. Or more precisely, it is the difficulty in learning to anticipate the world. Ordinarly brains accumulate habits of perception and eventually see what they expect to see (and so find the world less memorable). A brain that is not good at generating perceptual predictions is instead going to feel assailed by novelty. Which is more memorable, but a drawback preventing a move to higher levels of abstraction and creative or imaginative thought.

If you can't predict the world in sensory terms, but instead must spend time dealing with what you discover happening, then yes, overload and confusion will be the outcome.

Donna Williams' books are very good firsthand accounts here.
http://www.donnawilliams.net/
GreatEscapist
#30
Jun6-10, 06:46 PM
P: 180
Quote Quote by mikekhogan447 View Post
I think I see what you're driving at--I've read some of your earlier posts (including the post where you made clear that you don't want this hypothesis exposed before it's confirmed/disconfirmed anecdotally). It reminds me of the "ape etiquette" one of my ethologist friends talks about. Never give eye contact to an ape because it's a sign of aggression.

I wonder if there's a hardwired or genetically encouraged brain mechanism that lends intensity to eye contact? Then again, being able to notice two eyes staring at you in the brush would be highly adaptive--predators. So, we can think about this in terms of a general mammalian "feature detector" that extracts eyes from surroundings, or a specific primate feature detector that works socially. But just-so stories are as dangerous as they are intriguing.
Nope. Eye contact isn't a bad thing, but it can be scary. I think Aspie's tend to want to stay more private, because we know we're different, and fear judgement.

Eye contact means somewhat intimate, trusting connections. It's not bad if we know the person well, but if we don't know what they are trying to do, it becomes frightening. It's terrifying to think that someone is judging me and I can't tell what they are thinking. I hate that.

It isn't a evolutionary defect. It has nothing to do with us missing that link in our brain, I don't think.
Fear, anxiety, paranoia, and awkwardness is just the name of the game with strange social conventions.
But we, like all humans, learn to adapt to changing situations. Which is what things like parties (GAH I HATE THOSE) seem like. Challenges to learn and overcome.
rhody
#31
Jun6-10, 07:11 PM
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Aperion,

When you said:
An old theory is that the left brain neurons have more narrowly connected, narrowly tuned, receptive fields, the right more broadly connected, to create a physical basis to the figure~ground, event~context, differences in left/right processing style.
The left brain narrowly connected and tuned, versus the right brain broadly connected, by that I assume you mean there are more connections and are less narrowly tuned. Are there links you could provide for more information ?

I also made an error in my post #22 above, the link to "brain neo-cortical simulation" was a duplicate of the first one and I just fixed it.
I invite all to give the TED Talk a look, sorry for the mistake. I reproduced both links here for ease of use.
autism experiment
brain neo-cortical simulation
Rhody...
apeiron
#32
Jun6-10, 07:49 PM
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Quote Quote by rhody View Post
The left brain narrowly connected and tuned, versus the right brain broadly connected, by that I assume you mean there are more connections and are less narrowly tuned. Are there links you could provide for more information ?
Here is a perhaps useful paper linking social cognition to hemisphere lateralisation...

http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&sou...ltPBKYE_olQWAQ

As compared to the left hemisphere, the right hemisphere has more widespread interlobular organization (Egelko et al., 1988), greater neural interconnectivity among regions (Gur et al., 1980; Thatcher, Krause, & Hrybyk, 1986; Tucker, Roth, & Bair, 1986), more overlapping axonal interconnectivity (Woodward, 1988), and more horizontal axonal connectivity (Springer & Deutsch, 1981; Woodward, 1988).
[edit] There was also speculation of a neuromodulator difference too - more dopamine on left to focus things, more norepinephrine on the right to go wide aperture. Sorry, its been 15 years since I was studying this particular issue so the details are getting sketchy and the papers long since binned.
apeiron
#33
Jun6-10, 09:57 PM
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Quote Quote by rhody View Post
I invite all to give the TED Talk a look, sorry for the mistake. I reproduced both links here for ease of use.
Markham's intense world hypothesis is not quite there, even if almost on the mark IMO.

Again I would stress the need to build anticipation in at the circuit level during infant perceptual learning. Yes, the circuits may be hypersensitive, But anticipation in turn then explains why circuits would be hypersensitive.

Anticipation of noises, people staring at us, whatever, has the effect of suduing our reaction to such stimuli (we half expect something, so no need to over-react to it). A hypersensitive reaction is what you would get when perceptions are not predicted smoothly.

Now what does anticipation look like at the circuit level? Well, here I would turn to the predictive coding/anticipatory neural net/ helmholtzian/forward modelling neural network literature for theories. And Niwijahan and others looking at anticipation in simple brain circuits, like the retina.

Jumping to the neuroanatomy of the cortex is rather ambitious, but Casanova's minicolumn evidence would fit with the idea that what fails to develop properly at the circuit level is the feedback wiring that contextualises the activity of local processing (whether it is individual neuron receptive fields or larger scales of organisation such as columns and even cortical areas).

Here is a good account of his idea in a blog...

http://a-shade-of-grey.blogspot.com/...nicolumns.html

Note too that Eric Courchesne did earlier work on abnormalities in the cerebellum. So it all adds up to a diffuse failure to develop "well balanced" neurocircuitry. And the essence of that balance in functional terms is the play-off between the predicted and the surprising.

The brain wants to be as little surprised as possible (so that it is then free to focus strongly on what is novel, threatening or otherwise not successfully predicted).

Aspies would be able to understand their fellow humans by taking the time to think things through, work it out. Using attentive effort. Normies have long made it a slick habit and would second-guess their social worlds out of pre-conscious automatism. Just like learning to ride a bike or drive a car.
mikekhogan447
#34
Jun6-10, 10:08 PM
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Quote Quote by GreatEscapist View Post
Nope. Eye contact isn't a bad thing, but it can be scary. I think Aspie's tend to want to stay more private, because we know we're different, and fear judgement.

Eye contact means somewhat intimate, trusting connections. It's not bad if we know the person well, but if we don't know what they are trying to do, it becomes frightening. It's terrifying to think that someone is judging me and I can't tell what they are thinking. I hate that.

It isn't a evolutionary defect. It has nothing to do with us missing that link in our brain, I don't think.
Fear, anxiety, paranoia, and awkwardness is just the name of the game with strange social conventions.
But we, like all humans, learn to adapt to changing situations. Which is what things like parties (GAH I HATE THOSE) seem like. Challenges to learn and overcome.
That wasn't quite my meaning. I was speculating about the causes of what seems to be a universal feeling about eye contact. It is intense. Some people on the spectrum, given that they might have trouble integrating sensory information, find intense sensory stimulation like eye contact jarring. It is because they are NOT missing that "link" that it is uncomfortable.
zoobyshoe
#35
Jun7-10, 04:38 AM
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Quote Quote by GreatEscapist View Post
Nope. Eye contact isn't a bad thing, but it can be scary. I think Aspie's tend to want to stay more private, because we know we're different, and fear judgement.

Eye contact means somewhat intimate, trusting connections. It's not bad if we know the person well, but if we don't know what they are trying to do, it becomes frightening. It's terrifying to think that someone is judging me and I can't tell what they are thinking. I hate that.

It isn't a evolutionary defect. It has nothing to do with us missing that link in our brain, I don't think.
Fear, anxiety, paranoia, and awkwardness is just the name of the game with strange social conventions.
But we, like all humans, learn to adapt to changing situations. Which is what things like parties (GAH I HATE THOSE) seem like. Challenges to learn and overcome.
What's your reaction to this:

In so far as I'm a normie, I also don't know what people are thinking. I crave eye contact precisely because it's such a good way to find out what their attitude might be, to gage their emotional state. If they're being judgmental, I want to know it so I can address it. Additionally, eye contact is good because it's also where you see affection, or interest, or approval, and many other good things. Categorically avoiding eye contact would seem to be a bad strategy because it delays or prevents the unspoken communication of the good along with the bad.

Are intimate, trusting connections just as nervous-making as seeing someone is judgmental?
GreatEscapist
#36
Jun7-10, 12:42 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
What's your reaction to this:

In so far as I'm a normie, I also don't know what people are thinking. I crave eye contact precisely because it's such a good way to find out what their attitude might be, to gage their emotional state. If they're being judgmental, I want to know it so I can address it. Additionally, eye contact is good because it's also where you see affection, or interest, or approval, and many other good things. Categorically avoiding eye contact would seem to be a bad strategy because it delays or prevents the unspoken communication of the good along with the bad.

Are intimate, trusting connections just as nervous-making as seeing someone is judgmental?
Let's say that ignorance is bliss.

Once I realize that someone is judging me I feel so, I know that I'll have to deal with that. I can usually figure it out, but I never how to respond in a way that will stop/aid the judgment. So if I don't look at them, I don't know that they are doing that. Whether I know they are or not.


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