Sapolsky Lecture 2 of 25 / Behavioral Evolution

This is Lecture 2 of 25

Features Game Theory and Tournament Species – Pair Bonding Species

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American Social InJustice / Bill of Rights Demolished

The first ten Amendments are known as the Bill of Rights, which (supposedly) protect all American citizens from abuse by government. But, despite the intention of the originators of these protections, “rights” have been denied, twisted and interpreted to “benefit” the decidedly unequal social hierarchy / class system that is the United States.

CIVIL RIGHTS is a magic word concept that carries all sorts of social and legal messages, that are repeated over and over again by media, bureaucrats, Congresspersons, the President, judges – and citizens. “Rights” are a political and legal illusion, open to perversion, lies and misapplication: Does anyone truly believe that a poor person has any comparable “value” to American society and the state? This is how rights  are applied: by wealth, social standing and influence.

I’ve included the Bill of Rights in this post as reference for the most sinister practice I have yet come across in the “Injustice System” – questionnaires “invented” by psychologists and sociologists, that use algorithms to “crunch” the (highly)questionable information provided by “suspects” “accused” “convicted” citizens which are then used to determine the particular “judgements” made about their “future crimes”

Oh yes, ASD people: mental health, depression, retardation and learning disabilities are used in these instruments to predict a person’s criminal future.

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Machine Bias (google propublica.org)

There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.

May 23, 2016

The New Science of Sentencing (google The Marshall Project)

Should prison sentences be based on crimes that haven’t been committed yet?

Criminal sentencing has long been based on the present crime and, sometimes, the defendant’s past criminal record. In Pennsylvania, judges could soon consider a new dimension: the future.

Pennsylvania is on the verge of becoming one of the first states in the country to base criminal sentences not only on what crimes people have been convicted of, but also on whether they are deemed likely to commit additional crimes. As early as next year, judges there could receive statistically derived tools known as risk assessments to help them decide how much prison time — if any — to assign.

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I have the power to make your life HELL.

INTRO to Bill of Rights:

Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petitition the Government for a redress of grievances. Many religious organizations in the U.S. have as their primary goal, the overturning of this injunction against the establishment of a state religion.  

Second Amendment

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Third Amendment

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fifth Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation. (This protection is being trampled to death by the “assessments” created by social scientists and psychologists that have been used increasingly by the justice-court-incarceration system)

Sixth Amendment

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. 95 % of cases are “PLEA BARGAINS” coerced into acceptance by a system that imposes severe punishment for choosing a jury trial.

Seventh Amendment

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

Eighth Amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. 

Cruel and unusual? Mentally ill individuals locked up with violent criminals; solitary confinement for “vulnerable” inmates; life sentences for non-violent crime…..

Poor people often cannot afford any amount of bail, and SIT IN JAIL, sometimes for months or years, before the “case” gets around to court hearings. And then what happens? Charges dropped, a release, a plea bargain, probation? A sentence equal to time spent locked up and waiting for a court appearance? The outcome depends  on how backlogged and inefficient the system has become; on selection of easy targets by prosecutors (will accept any plea bargain) Prisoners, felons, convicts whose identity has become a function of the “social discrimination” of American life since childhood, become helpless targets. People with access to money and lawyers can of course, purchase a “fair outcome.”  

Ninth Amendment

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

 

 

Another “Social Issue” / Forgiveness

One more social topic that I find to be bat-crap-crazy. And I bet plenty of other Aspergers would agree.
Whenever I hear a person say, in response to a person who has committed a heinous criminal act, or financial or other betrayal, that he or she has “already forgiven” the perpetrator, before the perpetrator has been held responsible, or offered any evidence of “I did something wrong and I regret it”, I’m shocked.  As an Asperger, I don’t believe that “unearned” forgiveness makes any sense. Nor does giving the Top 1% criminal class “a pass” on their mass “human rights violations” around the globe.

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http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/forgiveness/definition#what_is

UC Berkeley offers some terrific info online, but this site is offensive: Greater Good – Science of a Meaningful life. The content is NOT SCIENCE-BASED; in fact, it’s one of the more egregious “psychology as religion being flogged as (at best) New Age, California “Guru” science. No science-based “content” would advise people on “metaphysical” behavior. This article about “forgiveness” is manipulative and prescriptive social instruction. Once again it begins with the assumption that a nebulous “magic word” concept, forgiveness, has been proven “by experiment and replication” to EXIST and to be a universal “treatment” for (justifiable) emotions that arise from being harmed. (But not for preventing harm.) Watch for “weasel words”

Article: What Is Forgiveness?

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Social message: Your feelings are not legitimate. This has nothing to do with science.

Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability. Social message: You are not allowed to experience normal reactions (anger, hurt, grief, outrage) but must TRUST SOCIETY to “deal with” perpetrators.

The real situation is that too often there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY because our justice system is a tool of the social hierarchy – it is indeed a class-based system and has nothing to do with fact, fairness or “just” results. (Nor science) The variables (discounting victim reports, refusal to prosecute, a plea bargain system, the cost of legal services, PLUS where you live on the social pyramid) are rigged. Example: How often are rape cases ignored or purposefully not investigated and the evidence lost? Accountability is a whole new picture when we get specific. This has nothing to do with science.

I’m not saying that victims of crime or betrayal ought to resort to revenge or other tactics, but it’s important to understand how social systems pervert “natural” human behavior.

But – the outcome often is that victims are injured, betrayed and abandoned by the very social systems that they are :supposed to trust. Nowhere does this article state that the “violator or perpetrator” must WORK to repair the damage, before “forgiveness” is considered. In the US we have a social agenda (this applies across the board to government, corporations and institutions ) that the blame lies with the victim; the victim has no expectation of a response or restitution from predatory agencies, companies and Top 1% entities. Learned helplessness is the successful social tactic.

Article: Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. (Proof? This has nothing to do with science. Or is this the “priest” of psychology pressuring victims to “shut up” about the event. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered (Gee thanks. I didn’t know that I had to be granted permission to know I’m in pain!!!) without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life. (Aye, yai, yai! What magic word BS.) Not science-based.

Why Practice Forgiveness?

We often think of forgiveness as a kind, magnanimous act—an act of mercy or compassion extended to someone who wronged us. While that can be true, research over the past few decades has revealed enormous personal benefits to forgiveness as well. According to that research, (not scientific research) here are some of the most compelling ways forgiveness is good for us, our relationships, and our communities.

Note that there is NO scientific justification for these claims. The assumption is made from the start that “forgiveness” is a scientific property (it can be identified and measured using the scientific method) that can be quantified and results reproduced by scientific experiment. Actually, it’s a philosophical – religious – social concept and needs to be addressed within those fields.

  • Forgiveness makes us happier: Research suggests not only that happy people are more likely to forgive but that forgiving others can make people feel happy, especially when they forgive someone to whom they feel close.
  • Forgiveness improves our health: When we dwell on grudges, our blood pressure and heart rate spike—signs of stress which damage the body; when we forgive, our stress levels drop, and people who are more forgiving are protected from the negative health effects of stress. Studies also suggest that holding grudges might compromise our immune system, making us less resistant to illness. OUTRAGEOUS oversimplified conclusions-claims. Once again, human beings are “generic” – everyone is a clone of some imaginary “normal-typical” model.
  • Forgiveness sustains relationships: When our friends inevitably hurt or disappoint us, holding a grudge makes us less likely to sacrifice or cooperate with them (doesn’t this sound “normal”, which undermines feelings of trust and commitment, (isn’t it the original “violation” that causes this?) driving us further apart. Studies suggest that forgiveness can stop this downward spiral and repair our relationship before it dissolves. Social message: It’s the responsibility of the “victim” to make everything okay again)
  • Forgiveness is good for marriages (most of the time): Spouses (most likely of the female sex) who are more forgiving and less vindictive are better at resolving conflicts effectively in their marriage. A long-term study of newlyweds found that more forgiving spouses had stronger, more satisfying relationships. However, when more forgiving spouses were frequently mistreated by their husband or wife, they became less satisfied with their marriage. WOW! A stunning observation.
  • Forgiveness boosts kindness and connectedness: (An opinion; not science) People who feel forgiving don’t only feel more positive toward someone who hurt them. They are also more likely to want to volunteer and donate money to charity, and they feel more connected to other people in general. Do these psychologists have no ethical standards? This is total BS.
  • Forgiveness can help heal the wounds of war: A research-based forgiveness training program in Rwanda, for instance, was linked to reduced trauma and more positive attitudes between the Hutus and Tutsis there. A study of people who learned forgiveness skills in war-torn Sierra Leone found that they reported feeling less depressed, more grateful, more satisfied with life, and less stressed afterward. Perhaps most famously, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is widely credited with encouraging forgiveness and reconciliation after the end of apartheid in that country. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the commission’s chairman, has argued that forgiveness is the path to “true enduring peace.
  • No ethics here! Just appropriate serious events to “prove”  that a trivial article has value. This, by the way, is “contagious magic” – by associating A with B, A “acquires” the power of B.
  • How Forgiving Are You?

    Find out by taking our forgiveness quiz, based on a scale created by forgiveness research pioneer Michael McCullough. Making a scale does not constitute science.

  • Here’s science for you! A “quiz” that will tell you if you’re a nice, socially obedient, “forgiving” person. Total crap! 

The social point of forgiveness seems to be to keep the “victim” in relationships or circumstances (under the control of “up hierarchy” or predatory classes) so that they can be victimized again and again. Don’t dare get angry! American minorities have certainly been taught by Christian propaganda to “forgive” all the nice white people who’ve lynched, beaten, shot and kept them from “moving up” the pyramid for hundreds of years. Women also are expected to “forgive” male domination and brutality: women are low on the social pyramid and “forgiveness” keeps them there.

 

Sapolsky 25 Lectures / Behavior-Biology FANTASTIC!

Robert Sapolsky, STANFORD

Course (25 lectures) Biology of Behavior. How physiology affects human behavior, especially social behavior. Painless (and funny) Sapolsky classic.

Limits of categorical thinking: Breaking down “bucket” thinking. How wrong (and dangerous) “scientists” can be who are stuck in categorical thinking. Psychiatrists and  psychologists as generators of pathological ideas about human behavior – which I’ve been yelling about for two years on this blog. 

For general consumption! Science background not required.

Must I say it? The category that traps modern social humans is modern social narcissism. For neurotypicals, nothing exists outside of the social pyramid and it’s crushing inequality and brutality.

 

Map / Neanderthal, Denisovan DNA in Modern Humans

SCINEWS Online Scientists Produce Map of Neanderthal, Denisovan Ancestry in Present-Day Humans

Mar 29, 2016 by Enrico de Lazaro

Dr. David Reich from Harvard Medical School and his colleagues have produced a world map of Denisovan and Neanderthal ancestry in 120 diverse populations. Their analysis proposes that Denisovan admixture into humans occurred about 100 generations after Neanderthal admixture.

Dr. Reich and co-authors collected their data by comparing known Neanderthal and Denisovan gene sequences across more than 250 genomes from 120 non-African populations publically available through the Simons Genome Diversity Project.

The analysis was carried out by a machine-learning algorithm that could differentiate between components of both kinds of ancestral DNA, which are more similar to one another than to modern humans. The results, published this week in the journal Current Biology, showed that individuals from Oceania possess the highest percentage of archaic ancestry and South Asians possess more Denisovan ancestry than previously believed.

This reveals previously unknown interbreeding events, particularly in relation to Denisovans.

“We developed methods that can disambiguate the locations of segments of Denisovan and Neanderthal ancestry in present-day humans and applied them to 257 high-coverage genomes from 120 diverse populations, among which were 20 individual Oceanians with high Denisovan ancestry,” the scientists explained.

“In Oceanians, the average size of Denisovan fragments is larger than Neanderthal fragments, implying a more recent average date of Denisovan admixture in the history of these populations. We document more Denisovan ancestry in South Asia than is expected based on existing models of history, reflecting a previously undocumented mixture related to archaic humans.”

This map shows the proportion of the genome inferred to be Denisovan in ancestry in diverse non-Africans: the color scale is not linear to allow saturation of the high Denisovan proportions in Oceania (bright red) and better visualization of the peak of Denisovan proportion in South Asia. Image credit: Sriram Sankararaman et al.

This map shows the proportion of the genome inferred to be Denisovan in ancestry in diverse non-Africans: the color scale is not linear to allow saturation of the high Denisovan proportions in Oceania (bright red) and better visualization of the peak of Denisovan proportion in South Asia. Image credit: Sriram Sankararaman et al.

In contrast, Western Eurasians are the non-Africans least likely to have Neanderthal or Denisovan genes. “The interactions between modern humans and archaic humans are complex and perhaps involved multiple events,” Dr. Reich said.

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Sriram Sankararaman et al. The Combined Landscape of Denisovan and Neanderthal Ancestry in Present-Day Humans. Current Biology, published online March 28, 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.037

Two articles raise questions about fossil apes / NATURE

Published online 6 March 2003 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news030303-6

Ancient ape found in orangutan’s homeland

Ten-million-year-old fossil teeth turn up in Thailand. by John Whitfield

The orangutan: the only great ape with a known fossil record.

An ancient relative of the orangutan has been discovered in Thailand. The species is the first fossil ape unearthed in the area where orangutans live today. Only teeth have been found so far. These bear an “amazing resemblance” to orangutan teeth, says the fossil’s discoverer, Jean-Jacques Jaeger of the University of Montpellier, France. “It’s more similar [to orangutans] than any other fossil ape,” he enthuses.

Like the orangutan, the newly discovered species, named Lufengpithecus chiangmuanensis by Jaeger and his colleagues1, probably weighed about 70 kilograms. It lived in the tropical forests of northern Thailand between 10 and 13.5 million years ago.

The finding opens a window onto new times and places in the apes’ paltry fossil record, says palaeontologist Peter Andrews of the Natural History Museum in London. “This is just the beginning,” he says. “There will be lots of species all over Southeast Asia.” But Lufengpithecus is almost certainly not an ancestor of the orangutan. It joins a group of fossil apes that ranged from Europe to China around 10 million years ago. Researchers have little idea about how they were related to one another.

Most of the orangutan’s extinct relatives are known only from skulls and teeth. The exception – Sivapithecus, which lived in modern-day Pakistan – had a face like an orangutan, but few other similarities. Its skeleton shows it to have walked on all fours, like a baboon.

No known fossil ape is adapted for life in the trees, says Jaeger. Orangutans may therefore be descended from a ground-dweller, or it may be that no known fossil is an ancestor of a living ape.

Comparing teeth is not always a good guide to animal relationships, warns oral biologist Jay Kelley of the University of Illinois in Chicago. “Animals that are very similar dentally have turned out to be very different.”

Kelley has found two other species of Lufengpithecus, with intact skulls, in southern China. “There’s a lot about those skulls that doesn’t look at all like an orangutan,” he says. Both are several million years younger than the Thai species.

The orangutan is the only great ape with a known fossil record. Mysteriously, no African fossil has been found that might be related to chimps and gorillas. “The apes seem to have sprung out of nowhere,” says Andrews.

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Published online 18 November 2004 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news041115-12

Ancient ape gives clue to family origins

Fossil from 13 million years ago sheds light on human split from apes. by Michael Hopkin

An artist's reconstruction of Pierolapithecus catalaunicus.
An artist’s reconstruction of Pierolapithecus catalaunicus.© AAAS/Science/Illustration by Todd Marshall

Fossil hunters in Spain have unearthed what seems to be the most recent common ancestor of gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and humans. The ape lived almost 13 million years ago, about the time that our different lineages are thought to have diverged.

The species has been christened Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, in reference to the Catalan village of Els Hostalets de Pierola, where the fossil was found. The specimen consists of 83 bones from an adult male, including parts of the skull, teeth, ribs and fingers.

“The problem is that our finding is the only one we know. However, we can speculate and suggest that the probable origin of this animal is in Africa.”

Salvador Moyá-Solá
Miguel Crusafont Institute of Palaeontology, Barcelona

The creature would have weighed about 55 kilograms, making it about the size of a female chimpanzee, says Salvador Moyá-Solá of the Miquel Crusafont Institute of Palaeontology in Barcelona, whose team reports the discovery in this week’s Science1. But it would have looked more like a primitive gorilla, he adds.

The scarcity of the fossil record makes it difficult to say whether P. catalaunicus is actually the most recent common ancestor of all great apes living today, Moyá-Solá says. But it is likely to resemble it closely: analyses of the rates at which differences arise between our DNA and that of other apes show that our family must have begun diverging at about the time when P. catalaunicus was alive.

Tree scuttler

Intriguingly, the fossil shows a mixture of typical ‘apelike’ features alongside more primitive ‘monkey’ characteristics, the team reports. The creature would have been able to lift itself into a standing position as modern apes can, but its short fingers mean that it would not have been able to grip branches with enough strength to swing from them.

This means that tree-swinging might have evolved several times in different apes, rather than being a habit from the start, the researchers suggest. The earliest great apes might have scuttled around on top of branches, much as today’s monkeys do.

This fits with the idea that apelike characteristics evolved very gradually, rather than all appearing together in a single ancestor, comments Todd Rae, who studies primates at the University of Durham, UK. “It’s a stepwise process,” he explains. “One bit changes and then another bit changes.”

Complete bones and large bone fragments of the P. catalunicus skeleton.
Complete bones and large bone fragments of the P. catalunicus skeleton.© Science

P. catalaunicus also has a very flat face, Moyá-Solá’s team reports, with nostrils that are in almost the same plane as its eye sockets. Its face would have looked a lot like a gorilla’s does today, but very different from a chimp’s, in which the jaw is thrust forwards in a pattern called prognathism. The chimp pattern therefore probably evolved later in the great apes’ family history.

Although the species was discovered in Spain, it is unlikely to have lived only there, Moyá-Solá says. “The problem is that our finding is the only one we know. However, we can speculate and suggest that the probable origin of this animal is Africa.”

Africa is widely agreed to have been the birthplace of modern humans around 160,000 years ago. But palaeontologists also think that Africa’s climate, and the number of different species that lived there, would have made it a hotbed of ape evolution for millions of years before that. But the apes could just as easily have been found mainly in Europe, as its climate was certainly different back then, Rae argues. “At that time Europe had lots of different apes – you don’t necessarily have to invoke Africa as the place where all these things evolved.”

Of course, we will not know where else P. catalaunicus lived until other fossils are found. “We always need more and better fossils,” says Moyá-Solá. 

Miguel Crusafont Institute of Palaeontology, Barcelona

Picture This / Neoteny / Juvenalization

Men feminizing their appearance.

Men feminizing their appearance.

Zeta-Male rambo-vs-twilight imagesbb menspantyhose imagesman feminization-of-men-continues-with-man-braids-hipster-lgbt-end-times-933x445 an-jung-hwan-two-korean-male-cosmetic-advertisement-20021 72a0647c96114134696a35a52c01db98b20e7504Psychologically NORMAL = JUVENILE (Cute, feminine, emotional, irrational)

Most people don’t realize that in humans, neoteny/juvenalization/domestication is expressed as FEMINIZATION or “all things cute.”

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Dogs bred to be infant humans. Yes, it’s adorable.

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It’s as if males have become “pets” – but no one realizes that this is the result of domestication. Men have become less masculine and more feminine as “civilization” progresses.

 

Visual-spatial thinking / Overlooked in science ed.

Pay-to-read article at Wiley Online Library

 Visual thinking is regarded as a “defect” by psychologists – because they don’t understand it. Irrational prejudice and ignorance have resulted in a science and math illiterate U.S. population. Psychologists have taken over education theory and practice – and have managed to destroy one of the most amazing human attributes:  enthusiasm for learning. 

Clichés from the Internet, and one positively boneheaded slide show: Suzy Housewife and Joe Texas (vaccines and Autism)

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Neanderthals applying-scientific-thinking-joe-texas-and-suzy-housewife-1-638

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Visual-spatial thinking: An aspect of science overlooked by educators

by James Mathewson  Department of Chemistry, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA. First published: 12 January 1999.

Abstract

Thinking with images plays a central role in scientific creativity and communication but is neglected in science classrooms. This article reviews the fundamental role of imagery in science and technology and our current knowledge of visual-spatial cognition.

A novel analogic and thematic organization of images and visualization within science and technology is proposed that can help in the generation and evaluation of classroom activities and materials, and serve as a focus for professional development programs in visual-spatial thinking for science teachers. Visual-spatial thinking includes vision—using the eyes to identify, locate, and think about objects and ourselves in the world, and imagery—the formation, inspection, transformation, and maintenance of images in the “mind’s eye” in the absence of a visual stimulus.

A spatial image preserves relationships among a complex set of ideas as a single chunk in working memory, increasing the amount of information that can be maintained in consciousness at a given moment. Vision and imagery are fundamental cognitive processes using specialized pathways in the brain and rely on our memory of prior experience. Visual-spatial thinking develops from birth, together with language and other specialized abilities, through interactions between inherited capabilities and experience. Scientific creativity can be considered as an amalgam of three closely allied mental formats: images; metaphors; and unifying ideas (themes).

Combinations of images, analogies, and themes pervade science in the form of “master images” and visualization techniques. A critique of current practice in education contrasts the subservient role of visual-spatial learning with the dominance of the alphanumeric encoding skills in classroom and textbooks. The lack of coherence in curriculum, pedagogy, and learning theory requires reform that addresses thinking skills, including imagery.

Successful integration of information, skills and attitudes into cohesive mental schemata employed by self-aware human beings is a basic goal of education. The current attempt to impose integration using themes is criticized on the grounds that the required underpinning in cognitive skills and content knowledge by teachers and students may be absent. Teaching strategies that employ visual-spatial thinking are reviewed. Master images are recommended as a novel point of departure for a systematic development of programs on visual-spatial thinking in research, teacher education, curriculum, and classroom practice.

© 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Sci Ed 83:3–54, 1999.

Invention of Asperger’s 1990s /The Syndrome, Disorder, Myth?

Note: I don’t use “invention” lightly here. Every disease “as a disease” requires invention. There may be a group of people who display symptoms that are novel or previously unnoticed or unrecorded. The circumstance must come to someone’s attention, be deemed worthy of study, and systematically investigated: the disease, disorder or condition must meet criteria set by “the institution” that has named itself as “keeper of the standards” or meet those set by whatever agency or institution decides “official” status. This process is one of social invention.

We must never forget that Asperger’s the “disorder” is not the person, it is the result of a template that is laid over the person’s behavior, which selectively screens for “symptoms” as PATHOLOGIES. It is an EXTERNAL view of the individual by a psych / Psych who has preconceived biases about human behavior. There is nothing in these “lists” that asks the person being evaluated about their experiences, which is mind-bogglingly irresponsible. Human beings are not objects. Thus, within the invention of Asperger’s (?) there is a fatal flaw.

It’s the “Too Many Notes” Diagnosis

If you often have experiences like this, you’re probably Asperger.

THE 1990s

Epidemiology of Asperger Syndrome: A Total Population Study

© Cambridge University Press, 1993 This article was originally published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, Vol. 34, No. 8, pp. 1327-1350, November 1993.

Abstract: This paper describes a total population study of Asperger syndrome using a two-stage procedure. All school children in an outer G–teborg borough were screened. Final case selection based on clinical work-up showed a minimum prevalence of 3.6 per 1,000 children (7-16 years of age) using Gillberg and Gillberg’s criteria and a male to female ratio of 4:1. Including suspected and possible Asperger’s syndrome cases, the prevalence rose to 7.1 per 1,000 children and the male:female ratio dropped to 2.3:1. (This demonstrates that the vague and imprecise criteria radically affects data and diagnosis. Whether or not one is diagnosed depends on your doctor, psychologist or school counselor having a subjective interpretation of what is “abnormal” “emotionally acceptable” or “peculiar.”

These findings are discussed as they relate to previously published results in the field and to findings obtained using Szatmari et al.’s and ICD-10 draft criteria for the disorder. 

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Introduction Since Lorna Wing’s vivid clinical account of “Asperger’s syndrome” appeared in 1981 (Wing, 1981), about 50 articles have been published on the subject. However, the epidemiology of Asperger syndrome (AS) has never been specifically studied.

Considering that the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) (World Health Organization, 1992) includes “Asperger’s syndrome” as a subcategory of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, obtaining reliable prevalence estimates becomes mandatory.

A review of indirect data from neighboring fields revealed that a minimum prevalence in children who attend normal schools would be 2.6 per 1,000 children, i.e. several times higher than that reported for autism (Gillberg & Gillberg, 1989). The rate among mentally retarded children appears to be similar (Gillberg, Persson, Grufman & Themnr, 1986). Still, given the relatively low prevalence of mental retardation, AS cases recruited from this subpopulation add little to the total population prevalence. The available data originate from surveys not particularly geared to examining AS prevalence. The object of the present study was to provide reliable epidemiological data on AS.

Defining AS (Here we get a glimpse of a disorder being invented.)

The definition of a “case” presents difficulties in all prevalence studies on childhood psychiatric disorders (Schwartz Gould, Wunsch-Hitzig & Dohrenwend, 1981), and AS is no exception. The main reason for this is that we lack a true “gold standard” (Szatmari, 1989). Furthermore, there is no universal agreement on diagnostic characteristics (Szatmari, 1991). Asperger’s own descriptions are penetrating but not sufficiently systematic (Asperger, 1944). His frame of reference was Bleuler’s typology (i.e. “autistic psychopathy”) that is out of keeping with current diagnostic manuals. Wing, in her pioneer paper, did not explicitly spell out which symptoms had to be present for a diagnosis to be made, though more specified characteristics are presented in a recently published paper (Wing, 1991).

Other authors, such as Gillberg and Gillberg (1989), and Szatmari, Brenner and Nagy (1989) from Asperger’s and Wing’s work, clinical experience and comparative studies, have proposed operationalized diagnostic criteria. In several other publications (Bosch, 1970; Van Krevelen, 1971; Wolff & Barlow, 1979; Wolff & Chick, 1980; Nagy & Szatmari, 1986; Kerbeshian & Burd, 1986; Rutter & Schopler, 1987; Kay & Kolvin, 1987; Bowman, 1988; Frith, 1989; Tantam, 1988a, b, 1991; Goodman, 1989; Bishop, 1989; Baron-Cohen, 1988; Kerbeshian, Burd & Fisher, 1990; Green, 1990; Howlin, 1991; Cox, 1991; Wolff, 1991a, b; Wolff, Townsend, McGuire & Weeks, 1991; Gillberg, 1992) the delineation of the syndrome vis-ý-vis autism, schizoid personality and schizotypal personality disorder, Tourette syndrome, semantic-pragmatic language disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder has been discussed. The criteria of the Gillbergs (1989, 1991) and Szatmari et al. (1989) have been elaborated with the purpose of making them compatible with current diagnostic manuals. The proposals of these two groups have much in common, but differ in that the Gillbergs underline the children’s obsessional and narrow pattern of interest and Szatmari et al. highlight their social isolation. In short, Szatmari et al.’s criteria appear to be slightly more in line with “the passive” and the Gillbergs’ criteria with “the active but odd” in Wing’s typology of autism spectrum disorders (Wing & Gould, 1979; Wing & Attwood, 1987).

The ICD-10 draft criteria for AS (WHO, 1990) are similar to those of the Gillbergs, but with one important exception. In the ICD-10 “the term Asperger’s syndrome proposes that there is a group of individuals who have a disorder of social development similar to that found in infantile autism, but with a pattern of early language development that appears grossly normal” (Cox, 1991). Accordingly, criteria of abnormalities in verbal communication are not included. However, by not including operationalised criteria of abnormalities, such as odd prosody and semantic-pragmatic problems, the ICD-10 criteria exclude features that other authors in the field find important and characteristic of AS (Asperger, 1944; Wing, 1981, 1991). Current diagnostic criteria for AS are outlined in Tables 1-3.

In the present study we applied the diagnostic criteria for AS outlined by Gillberg and Gillberg (1989) and elaborated in Gillberg (1991), since, at the time of embarking on the study, these were the only published criteria available to us. Also, we report the result of applying Szatmari et al.’s (1989) and the ICD-10 (WHO, 1990) diagnostic criteria for the disorder.

Table 1. Asperger syndrome: Gillberg and Gillberg’s (1989) diagnostic criteria elaborated 

I have highlighted those behaviors which cannot be interpreted objectively, because the child’s reasons for the behavior and his or her subjective experience is ignored. The observer views the behavior as “abnormal” before making any attempt to understand the behavior. Quite a number of the “symptoms” are utterly subjective – One is reminded of Christian missionaries who use their own prejudices to “condemn” “native” behavior because they possess no understanding of the context and content of that behavior, but merely judge it as “evil.” Also, many of the symptoms are internally contradictory.

  1. Social impairment (extreme egocentricity)      (at least two of the following):           – Inability to interact with peers            – Lack of desire to interact with peers           – Lack of appreciation of social cues            – Socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior 2.  Narrow interest (at least one of the following):            – Exclusion of other activities            – Repetitive adherence            – More rote than meaning 3.  Repetitive routines (at least one of the following):          – On self, in aspects of life          – On others 4.  Speech and language peculiarities (at least three of the following):           – Delayed development          – Superficially perfect expressive language          – Formal pedantic language           – Odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics          – Impairment of comprehension including misinterpretation of literal/implied meanings 5.  Nonverbal communication problems (at least one of the following):           – Limited use of gestures           – Clumsy/gauche body language           – Limited facial expression           – Inappropriate expression           – Peculiar, stiff gaze 6.  Motor clumsiness:         Poor performance on neuro-developmental examination    Table 2. Asperger’s syndrome: Szatmari et al.’s (1989) diagnostic criteria
  2. 2. Solitary – two of:            – No close friends            – Avoids others           – No interest in making friends           – A loner 2.  Impaired Social Interaction – one of:           – Approaches others only to have own needs met           – A clumsy social approach            – One-sided responses to peers           – Difficulty sensing feelings of others            – Detached from feelings of others 3.  Impaired Nonverbal Communication – one of:          – Limited facial expression           – Unable to read emotion from facial expressions of child           – Unable to give messages with eyes          – Does not look at others           – Does not use hands to express oneself           – Gestures are large and clumsy          – Comes too close to others 4.  Odd Speech – two of:          – Abnormalities in inflection           – Talks too much          – Talks too little           – Lack of cohesion to conversation          – Idiosyncratic use of words           – Repetitive patterns of speech 5.  Does not meet DSM-III-R criteria for:          – Autistic disorder    Table 3. Asperger’s syndrome: ICD-10 (1990) diagnostic criteria 
  3. A lack of any clinically significant general delay in language or cognitive development. Diagnosis requires that single words should have developed by two years of age or earlier and that communicative phrases be used by three years of age or earlier. Self-help skills, adaptive behavior and curiosity about the environment during the first three years should be at a level consistent with normal intellectual development. However, motor milestones may be somewhat delayed and motor clumsiness is usual (although not a necessary feature). Isolated special skills, often related to abnormal preoccupations, are common, but are not required for diagnosis.
  4. Qualitative impairments in reciprocal social interaction (criteria as for autism). Diagnosis requires demonstrable abnormalities in at least three out of the following five areas:
    1. failure adequately to use eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture and gesture to regulate social interaction;
    2. failure to develop (in a manner appropriate to mental age, and despite ample opportunities) peer relationships that involve a mutual sharing of interests, activities and emotions;
    3. rarely seeking and using other people for comfort and affection at times of stress or distress and/or offering comfort and affection to others when they are showing distress or unhappiness; Except, as above to meet their own needs – contradictory
    4. lack of shared enjoyment in terms of vicarious pleasure in other people’s happiness and/or a spontaneous seeking to share their own enjoyment through joint involvement with others;
    5. a lack of socio-emotional reciprocity as shown by an impaired or deviant response to other people’s emotions; and/or lack of modulation of behavior according to social context, and/or a weak integration of social, emotional and communicative behaviors
  5. Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities (criteria as for autism; however it would be less usual for these to include either motor mannerisms or preoccupations with part-objects or nonfunctional elements of play materials). Diagnosis requires demonstrable abnormalities in at least two out of the following six areas: (the Chinese menu diagnosis)
    1. an encompassing preoccupation with stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest;
    2. specific attachments to unusual objects;
    3. apparently compulsive adherence to specific, nonfunctional, routines or rituals;
    4. stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms that involve either hand/finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole body movements;
    5. preoccupation with part-objects or nonfunctional elements of play materials (such as their odor, the feel of their surface, or the noise/vibration that they generate);
    6. distress over changes in small, nonfunctional, details of the environment

What we encounter here, in words like “nonfunctional” is a subjective judgment as to the value of REALITY! How can a supposedly well-educated person claim that odor, texture, sound and other properties are NONFUNCTIONAL aspects of objects or living things? What exactly are NONFUNCTIONAL  details of the environment?

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