Triangles Do Not Possess Mental States / Crazy Psych Research Re-post


Oxford University Press / Brain A Journal of Neurology

Study title: Autism, Asperger syndrome and brain mechanisms for the attribution of mental states to animated shapes

What’s wrong with this statement? If you’re an Asperger, it’s obvious: Triangles, animated or static, DO NOT POSSESS MENTAL STATES.

The well-known inability of modern social typicals to distinguish fantasy from physical reality is the core of the problem: ANIMATED SHAPES DO NOT POSSESS MENTAL STATES. TO SEE  INTENTION BEHIND “ANIMATED” TRIANGLES IS THE SAME DEFICIT IN MAGICAL THINKING THAT CAUSES SOCIAL TYPICALS TO IDENTIFY DISTANT LIGHTS, PLANETS, STARS and the neighbor’s porch light as UFOS; to see the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast; to believe that God works through online dating services; to assert that coincidences are miracles; to be trapped in that mental stage of childhood in which the universe is a grand puppet show, conjured by supernatural beings to baffle infantile human narcissists. In this cartoon universe, even inanimate objects create critical distortions in perception; distortions that are the product of the self-obsessed human brain.

(My head is about to explode.)



Fulvia Castelli , Chris Frith , Francesca Happé , Uta Frith August 2002


Ten able adults with autism or Asperger syndrome and 10 normal volunteers (normal is a default condition meaning “not diagnosed ASD”) were PET scanned while watching animated sequences. The animations depicted two triangles moving about on a screen in three different conditions: (1.) moving randomly, (2.) moving in a goal‐directed fashion (chasing, fighting), and (3.)  moving interactively with implied intentions (coaxing, tricking). The last condition frequently elicited descriptions in terms of mental states that viewers attributed to the triangles (mentalizing)

The researchers have pre-designated the “illusion” labeled as mentalizing as normal, without questioning their own bias against (vastly more adaptive) accurate perception of reality. Instead, certain humans are pre-judged as pathological for “perceptions” that go beyond typical abilities. Do we label people who can run faster than “normal” as pathological? No; they simply represent the positive tail on the bell curve of human physical ability.  

The autism group gave fewer and less accurate descriptions (accuracy = defective perception of reality in modern present-day Homo sapiens) of these latter animations, but equally accurate descriptions of the other animations compared with controls. While viewing animations that elicited mentalizing, in contrast to randomly moving shapes, the normal group showed increased activation in a previously identified mentalizing network (medial prefrontal cortex, superior temporal sulcus at the temporo‐parietal junction and temporal poles). The autism group showed less activation than the normal group in all these regions. However, one additional region, extrastriate cortex, which was highly active when watching animations that elicited mentalizing, showed the same amount of increased activation in both groups. In the autism group this extrastriate region showed reduced functional connectivity with the superior temporal sulcus at the temporo‐parietal junction, an area associated with the processing of biological motion as well as with mentalizing.

This finding suggests a physiological cause for the mentalizing dysfunction in autism: a bottleneck in the interaction between higher order and lower order perceptual processes.

Problem 1: Increased activity is assumed to automatically indicate “better” function, which is an amateur mistake in interpretation. It’s possible (and logical) that increased activity is a neutral state of interest and observation. “Reduced connectivity” could serve to block or dampen immediate irrational interpretation of activity in the environment and allow for analysis of what is actually happening (cause and effect), thus improving outcomes.  

Problem 2:  The misconceptions due to processing the environment as a supernatural domain that “works” not by natural law, but by magic: “we” are superior beings compared to any living creature, past or present. Possible “modern defects” are automatically considered to be assets…

…Maybe if one is going hunting with Elmer Fudd!


These “researchers” would have us believe that evolution has been working overtime to produce a “superior brain” that can be fooled into mistaking non-living objects as living beings. This is irrational; being fooled is NOT an advantage in activities such as hunting, which require that the hunter is able to discern animals as different to rocks, plants, shadows and imaginary threats caused by sensory distractions. The individual who can “spot” the living creature – and control his or her reactive response (emotion), and ANALYZE whether or not the animal presents a danger or a food opportunity, has a huge advantage. This is especially true given the wildly popular evolutionary strategy of camouflage, mimicry and “copy cat” species in plants and animals.

The inversion of values in mental processing promoted in this (totally unscientific) study is astounding and insulting. To label people who excel at accurate and detailed perception of the environment as “developmentally deficient” is outrageous. 



6 thoughts on “Triangles Do Not Possess Mental States / Crazy Psych Research Re-post

  1. Perhaps they are ‘idiots’ regarding research.

    They most definitely are *not* idiots regarding the *true* import of this study -which has *nothing* to do with the purported purpose.

    The so-called subject matter can be ***ignored*** – which, in truth, most Norms precisely do. They could care less about the methods used – those do NOT matter.

    What does matter:

    1) All autists have be proved (again) to be ‘subhuman and defective’ – hence they can be preyed upon ruthlessly without a troubled conscience.

    1b) one of the most efficacious means – the safest, most risk-free means – of doing predation upon autists is by ‘fixing’ them. Ostensibly, this is causing them to ‘look and act normal’ – while in truth confining their ‘spreading of ritual pollution’ to the smallest possible area. (Which means they effectively disappear, minimizing the spread of their ‘defectiveness stigma’)

    2) the researchers increase the spread of their ‘brand’ – they become more visible within their own milieu – and thereby gain increased dominance and prestige within that same ‘clique’. In short, ‘publish or perish’ speaks of the constant warfare in that part of the social organism named ‘academe’.

    3) because the researchers are adding to / refining ‘the mythology of the scapegoat’ (regarding autists) the magic(k)-driven realm of Normdom now has *new* ‘chants, curses, and marks of power’ that it can use to further dehumanize autists (and thereby better control and objectify the same in pursuit of its ultimate goal of a totally-homogeneous and ‘fully-synchronised’ social organism.)

    Few Norms are even somewhat (consciously) aware of these mostly-innate goals. However, that is not needed – as instinct-driven behavior is strongly predicated in the social realm, and those who must substitute intellect for instinct there are – as per Aristotle -“either Gods, or ***animals***.”

    Normdom’s observable behaviors strongly suggest we are seen as the latter.


  2. A (somewhat) better test might be to use two *puppets* rather than triangles -as in riangles are a good deal too, uh, abstract… (as in ‘how can a simple three-sided geometric shape have mentation, save if it represents something like a *voodoo doll*’)

    Perhaps that’s the answer – the test is really about ‘the instinctual shamanistic comprehension of reality (jung’s red book) found in the unconscious…’


  3. I’m probably on the spectrum myself, but at this point in my life I would probably just feed back to the researchers whatever they wanted to hear, and describe the #$@! intentions of the #$@! triangles.


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