“Pathological Truth-Tellers” / Asperger’s

Partial clip from article on LiveScience; my comments

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What’s the take-away for Asperger people? Want to pass as normal? Learn to lie really well.

Some people, called pathological liars, utter untruths constantly and for no clear reason. Their behavior confounds scientists and themselves.  “Pathological liars have a pattern of frequent, repeated and excessive lies or lying behavior for which there is no apparent benefit or gain for the liar,” said Charles Dike, clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those rare individuals who might be described as “pathological truth-tellers.” These people forego socially convenient and appropriate fibs to speak the unvarnished, upsetting truth. (Why is truth always assumed to be negative? Is every neurotypical terrified of reality?)

Intriguingly, this “lying handicap” is a common feature of the developmental disorder Asperger’s Syndrome. “People with Asperger’s have a tendency to be very blunt and direct — they can be honest to a fault,” said Tony Attwood, professor of psychology. Psychology and neuroscience have provided clues as to why some people lie up a storm while others have difficulty dissembling or detecting it in others. These contrasting extremes can help us learn about the default human mode of lying on a daily basis to avoid insult, get out of trouble or exploit others.

“If you define lying as ‘statements intended to deceive,’ then yes we all do lie, every day,” said Dike.

In psychiatric circles, pathological lying goes by the fancy name pseudologia fantastica, though it is not yet recognized as a distinct disorder. What puzzles most about a pathological liar’s behavior, Dike said, is that it is counterproductive. Dropping flagrant whoppers can cause trouble in jobs, relationships and even with the law through self-incriminations. “Not only is there no benefit to the lies, but the lies most of the time are easily disprovable,” said Dike.

Anecdotally, many of us will recognize this sort of behavior, though at present there are no good statistics for the prevalence of pathological lying. “What’s clear,” Dike said, “is that it’s not uncommon.” While acting in this manner makes no sense to most of us, it is essentially impossible for people with Asperger’s. Patients have expressed to Attwood puzzlement (let’s say something stronger – we get pissed off and insulted) when “normal” people lie with such frequency.

To boot, people with Asperger’s have trouble detecting falsity in words and actions. “They often think other people are as honest as they are, which leaves them vulnerable and gullible,” said Attwood.

Asperger’s is characterized by impairment (honesty is for social “retards”) in social interactions and restricted interests (no, neurotypicals have no interest in anything but themselves). Attwood noted that these individuals have an “allegiance to the truth, rather than people’s feelings.” (What an insult to human beings; people are so immature and think so little of their value, that the only thing that makes them feel good is false attention.)

Key to proper socialization and its subtleties (lies) is “theory of mind,” the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. “Theory of mind is determining what others are thinking, feeling or believe,” said Attwood. (Asperger’s know that normal people lie; that they are irrational, and can’t follow a logical progression of ideas and have little of interest to talk about. This is why we often avoid social situations.) Asperger’s patients tend to have a poorly developed theory of mind, which presents them with great difficulty in empathizing with others. More positively, this trait makes it tough to construct deceitful ruses, and those with Asperger’s who do learn how to lie often do so badly, said Attwood.

Brain scans using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have revealed a basis for this deficit. In Asperger’s patients and autistics, there is less activity in parts of the “social brain,” such as the prefrontal cortex. “In Asperger’s, that area is dysfunctional,” said Attwood. “Areas of the prefrontal cortex that should light up don’t in fMRI.”

Can there be any doubt as to why Asperger individuals avoid people who talk like this about us?

So, here is modern psychology in a nutshell: Empathy is demonstrated by lying to people. Being honest means you feel no empathy. People want to be lied to because they can’t handle the truth, even if it’s simply that the earth orbits the sun. Homo sapiens is composed entirely of 12 year-old girls with excessively low self-esteem, who fall to pieces if someone suggests that their eyeliner is crooked. This is nuts: once again, the priests of infantile western culture assume that people all over the world are “just like us” and prefer insincere, calculated and vapid social interactions and bullying.   

This psychological prescription for normal human behavior is a perversion of the VALUE of human interaction, which demands TRUST. Why are Americans so stressed out? Because you cannot trust anyone, especially governmental entities, corporations, products, services, news reporting, food labeling, advertising, your doctor, the police, your boss, your employees, your best friend, your neighbors, your spouse or your children.

That leaves dogs as the only loyal and trustworthy beings in our lives. 

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