What are Asperger Women Like? / Aye, yai, yai!

I googled, “What are Asperger women like?” A question that should be as innocuous as, What are New York women like? This post is selected from what popped up.

“Everyone in the room wants you to shut up and you don’t know it.”

Asperger Barbie

Asperger Barbie

“A telltale sign of female Asperger’s is hair that’s always a mess. It seems too complicated to comb hair. If you are scatter-brained, with no follow through, if you are a little weird socially, with no attention to typical girl concerns (like appearance), then you might have Asperger’s.”

and this gem: Characteristics Women Find Attractive in Aspergers Men – Men with Aspergers (high functioning autism) have many qualities that can be attractive to a prospective partner.”

No, I could not find, Characteristics Men Find Attractive in Asperger Women

In early childhood, probably long before a diagnostic assessment, a girl who has the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome will begin to know she is different to other girls. She may not identify with or want to play cooperatively with her female peers. Her thoughts can be that the play of other girls is stupid, boring and inexplicable. She may prefer to play alone so that she can play her way. Her interests can be different to other girls, not necessarily in terms of focus, but intensity and quality.”

“For example, she may collect over 50 Barbie dolls and choose not to enact with her friends from the neighbourhood ‘Barbie getting married’ but arrange the dolls in particular configurations.”

“She may prefer non-gender specific toys such as Lego and not seek acquisitions related to the latest craze for girls her age to be ‘cool’ and popular. There can be an aversion to the concept of femininity in wearing the latest fashions or fancy or frilly clothing. The preference can be for practical, comfortable clothing with lots of pockets.”

untitledom“Another escape is into the exciting world of nature, having an intuitive understanding of animals, not people. Animals become loyal friends, eager to see and be with you, with her feeing safe from being teased or rejected and appreciated by her animal friends.” Isn’t this a Disney Movie?

and… Marilyn Monroe was Asperger”

Suggestions: “Be open about having Asperger’s Syndrome. A lot of awareness around Asperger’s Syndrome still needs to be raised. People often feel girls may not have this condition, because of the ability to adapt or act as a shapeshifter. And this is your responsibility to stand up and say ‘yes, I am an Aspie’.”

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An Australian ‘Shapeshifter’ LOL

 

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OMG! This is the first time I’ve encountered Asperger’s as SIN.

 

The girl with curly hair is Asperger, and robotic script is the solution to her social problems.

The girl with curly hair is Asperger, and the robotic script is the solution to her social problems.

We’ll accept you if you (change the color of your skin) (change your brain) and you swear on the Bible that you secretly long to be a beauty pageant queen.  

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 Can you hear me screaming?

 

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Dominance and Social Instability / Wild Male Chimps – Papers

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Biopsychosoc Med Click for full paper

The costs of dominance: testosterone, cortisol and intestinal parasites in wild male chimpanzees

Michael P Muehlenbein 1 and David P Watts2

 Clip: Direct associations between testosterone, rates of aggression, and dominance rank have been identified in several species, including nonhuman primates [17,18]. Conversely, several studies have failed to demonstrate significant correlations between aggression, dominance rank and testosterone levels [19,20]. In fact, there is surprisingly little evidence that short-term changes in testosterone levels correlate with increased levels of aggression, and fluctuations in testosterone levels in healthy, eugonadal individuals over time do not necessarily predict changes in levels of aggression within individuals, human or nonhuman [reviewed in [21] and [22]]. Rather, testosterone may have a permissive effect, potentiating pre-existing patterns of aggression [23]. Testosterone is also more frequently associated with aggression and dominance rank during situations of social instability, such as during challenges by conspecific males for territory or access to mates, the establishment of territorial boundaries, the formation of dominance relationships, or in the presence of receptive females [24].

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Behav Ecol Sociobiol. Click for full paper

The relationship between testosterone and long-distance calling in wild male chimpanzees

 

Clip: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between Testosterone production and vocal behaviour in wild male chimpanzees. Chimpanzees live in multi-male, multi-female communities in which individuals form temporary subgroups (“parties”) that frequently change in size and composition (Chapman et al. 1995; Aureli et al. 2008). Chimpanzees produce long-distance “pant hoot” vocalizations that play a crucial role in coordinating grouping in their unstable society (Mitani and Nishida 1993; Fedurek et al. 2014). Because chimpanzees appear capable of recognizing the calls of specific community members (Mitani et al. 1996; Kojima et al. 2003), pant-hoots allow listeners to locate other individuals.

Although male chimpanzees often cooperate with each other, and form strong social bonds (Watts 2002; Mitani 2009), aggressive interactions are also important to the achievement and maintenance of male status (Muller and Mitani 2005). It has been suggested that chimpanzee pant hoots might be involved in male status competition. For example, high-ranking individuals pant hoot more often than low-ranking ones, suggesting that the call signals social status (Mitani and Nishida 1993; Clark and Wrangham 1994; Fedurek et al. 2014). Males often pant hoot in choruses, and such chorusing may facilitate coalition formation against other males (Fedurek et al. 2013a). In addition, pant-hooting rates are elevated on days when between-male competition is high, for example when valuable resources such as oestrous females or high-quality food are available (Fedurek et al 2014). Consequently, male pant hoots, apart from coordinating movements of community members, may play an important signaling role in male-male competition. Although this hypothesis has not been explored in detail, a positive relationship between pant-hooting and T levels would be consistent with this function, since in many animals, ranging from amphibians to mammals, the production of calls associated with mating or territorial behaviour is regulated by T (Floody 1981; Van Duyse et al. 2002; Wilczynski et al. 2005).

Does instability in human male social groups contribute to male aggression? It should be “a no-brainer” to correlate violent eruptions  – gangs, criminal predation, civil wars, religious wars and world wars – and “over the top” political and financial competition, with unstable social conditions. Is this too obvious a conclusion?
If one is living in the U.S. today, current social instability, manifesting as culture wars for over a half-century now, cannot be ignored as the precursor of outbreaks of “serious physical violence” (Civil war) between male “groups” in the near future.

Strange but True / Testosterone

testosterone-21 Testosterone Alone Does Not Cause Violence

Hormones don’t necessarily make men violent, but they do cause them to seek social dominance

Clip: “Arguably, the weak correlation between testosterone and violence gives us reason to be optimistic about the human race: Whereas other animals battle over mates as a direct result of their seasonal fluctuations in testosterone and other hormones, humans have discovered other ways to establish pecking orders. Which isn’t to say that we can’t rapidly adapt to the modern-day manifestations of our violent past: McAndrews’s work demonstrated that one surefire way to raise a man’s testosterone level is to allow him to handle a gun.”

Fill article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-testosterone-alone-doesnt-cause-violence/

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Hmmm…. if your want your son to grow up to look like this (OMG!)

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you had better buy him a nice big gun…

 

The road to Homo sapiens / Obligate bipedalism is not easy

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There is something about walking on two legs that we tend to ignore.

Human infants must learn to be bipedal animals.

We simply are not born with a body / brain system that is capable of standing upright, let alone, walking. We must, through trial and error, and much practice, literally grow into our obligate bipedal locomotion, and it’s a learning process for both body and brain; the human brain must learn to operate the human body.

In fact, each human must repeat the process of becoming bipedal, and all that goes with that peculiar type of locomotion, and it takes years, and many of us are never truly coordinated physical specimens. Athletes, are after all, are elevated in social and cultural stature because they are rare specimens of Master Obligate Bipeds. Although they may be born with physical “potential” top athletes require years of learning: body and brain training, skill practice, and the incorporation of that “body of learning” into both “automatic” and conscious control by the brain.

Which brings up another question. Are human babies born at an extremely premature stage of development in order to accommodate bipedalism? It takes years of practice and external aid by parents and others to become a functional obligatory biped. Quadruped animals often stand, walk and run within minutes of birth; birds are also bipeds, and quite helpless when born. A period of development must take place before they can attempt flying, and even then, it may takes months to years of brain-body feedback to accomplish adult skill.

We assume that the extreme prematurity of human birth is to “allow” for the growth of a humongous brain, but this is not proven. It is, actually, counter-intuitive. The evolutionary changes that occurred due to becoming bipedal may have eventually led to a big brain; but evidence refutes a “destiny” of the highly glorified “big smart brain”. Bipedalism predates “big brains” by millions of years, but there are possibilities as to how bipedalism may have contributed to larger brains.

Early bipeds are “assumed” to have been “like modern bipeds” in functionality – this is a “guess” based on “footprints” that look modern, and on comparative anatomy, computer models, etc. But – it is the brain that “creates – makes possible” those footprints, and tools, and food gathering, and the ability to acquire shelter and protection from predators. The body survives because the brain operates the body; the brain develops while learning to master a complex body.

It’s as if the brain learns to “drive a car” while at the same time, helping to design the car. If the car must navigate and negotiate a simple environment, the brain will “settle in” at a level of energy consumption that balances the expenditure of energy required to fuel behavior of a “complexity” that is “good enough” for survival of the organism. A “small brain” may be entirely sufficient to the operation of such a basic vehicle. Millions of years may pass without the need for an “upgrade” to 4WD, a lighter more maneuverable frame and steering system, and increased speed. A change in the environment may “push for / select” upgrades that require a “better” adapted body, and with it a more complex control center (the brain) –

Through time, small adaptations may suffice, until gradually a threshold is reached; a point where small “improvements” in body function (example – the option of “power steering” on a vehicle) makes a big difference. In bipeds, using the hands, arms and upper body for resource collection and tool manufacture, and/or the capacity to migrate to environments that provide more abundant and better quality food, and the “thinking activities” that accompany these changes, bring about the “tipping point” at which the brain, by learning to operate a few improvements, earns a larger share of the additional calories gained by new behaviors for its own growth and complex development. (The rack and pinion unit went blew out on my truck recently: without power-assist it was almost impossible to drive it to the repair shop – by analogy, it would have been impossible for small bipeds to hunt large mammals before becoming larger, stronger and more agile; before developing the capacity to manipulate and throw objects (rocks) and weapons – but, by engaging in learning new behaviors, those behaviors shaped physical changes. Physical adaptation is a BIG DEAL in the transition  from being a prey animal to becoming a predator. The brain would have had to “keep up” with new software, memory capacity, and operating system upgrades – the brain changed.

The switch from being a “prey species” to being a predator (as well as remaining prey for large carnivores) was critical. Being “social” animals, as “we” define social – (neurotypical, neotenic, post-agricultural, fossil-fuel technology-dependent  contemporary humans) was a response (and not entirely positive) to entirely different and very recent demands on Homo sapiens. Early “homo” erectus, Denisovan, Neanderthal and related “types” or species, would have succeeded due to advantages that were the consequence of a long history of bipedal / brain-body interactions within a broad range of earth environments that they exploited by migration (Getting the Hell out of Dodge in adverse circumstances may be our most effective form of adaptation).

Importantly, brains require a lot of energy: no brain can be supported by calories that don’t exist; a brain must return a “profit” in energy by exploiting resources and opportunities in the environment. A brain that uses more energy than it can “return” in improved functionality of the body (turn an energy profit) will kill the organism. So, bipedalism is not “just” a method of locomotion; it involves the entire system, especially the “control center brain” and its capacity to “make sense of and respond to” the environment AND to the extraordinary demands of bipedalism itself, including the expansion of behaviors that this ‘new” system makes possible.

This leaves us with a new predicament: Whereas bipedalism appears to have contributed to much of ape-hominid development that we can see in ourselves today, it really is not a “resource for coping with” the biggest environmental challenge that human evolution has faced: the “social crisis” that was precipitated by Agriculture and Urbanization. Masses of humans have been crowded together in unhealthy environments for which our evolutionary history has no pre-adaptations: technology has provided “stop gap” reprieves in this incredibly sudden demand on the human brain and body. These have failed; Homo sapiens is not “naturally social” but survives on severe and draconian accommodations imposed by social and cultural structures, and NOT ON evolutionary adaptation. It took millions of years for the advent of bipedalism to play out as a feedback system between the organism and changes in human environments. Homo sapiens today is failing to adapt as a physical species; we simply cannot “evolve instantly” into a successful social species. Desperate measures prove to be temporary. Our “modern infantile attitude” in the face of “reality” is dominated by hysteria, destruction and magical thinking. “Wonder drugs and wonder gadgets” have been added to “counting on” miraculous intervention by supernatural beings. And now, the race is on to eliminate “physical humans” altogether. It might be the inevitable outcome: self-eradication via technology.

whatisthepoint artificial-intelligence-job-killer-or-your-next-boss

 

 

Get over “freaking out” because your child is Aspie

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Dear Neurotypical Females: Making yourself an impossible-to-deal-with person does not make you important or powerful; it makes you an asshole who damages everyone around you, most of all, your children.

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What a sick view of marriage! No wonder divorce is so popular!

sleep-for-kids-chart whatisthepoint

It’s not Aspie children who are OCD, it’s American psycho-culture that imposes robotic instructions, schedules and rigid “time clock” behavior on every minute of every person’s life! Let no experience be without a manual of approved thought and behavior! sex-brains5da55eb573a7ad19afd3db5ce7cbb466

Authentic experience is not allowed, but prescribed!

The source of the Titanic struggle over the behavior of ASD / Asperger children is obvious and unnecessary: hyper-social parents, teachers (and as adults) bosses are “indignant” (or often enraged) that a child or adult won’t conform to arbitrary demands. It’s “my way or the highway” with most adults, who are “in charge” of training children to obey the parents’ schedules and rituals and “social absolutes” – ditto with teachers, “bosses” or managers, even if those social rituals lead to conflict, lower productivity, and passive aggressive sabotage by family members, spouses, and employees.

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Talk about “My way or the highway”! Message from Hillary supporters. I hope these women don’t have children…with this attitude, they likely don’t!

How many bosses micromanage the office, wasting the time and potential of the people they hire?

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In my experience, all a neurotypical parent or boss needs to do, if suffering the terrible fate of having to deal with an Asperger, is this: set a “goal point” for whatever you require especially if (in your mind) the one and only solution is a LINEAR sequence of tasks. Instead of demanding that a child follow, step by step, your unimaginative idea that life is a list that must be obeyed, try this: tell your Aspie child the time at which the school bus will appear at the bus stop, necessitating that he/she be ready to leave the house at 7:15 a.m. Leave it at that! Remind them, if you must, that this means being dressed, eating breakfast, and gathering “stuff” needed at school.

Your Aspie child (not infant or toddler) will likely surprise you by arranging these tasks in a way that makes sense to them! Starting with a “completion point” removes the obstacle of linear problem-solving (which is your hang up) and allows the child to express their natural visual-spatial brain processing. Reward them for getting to the 7:15 a.m. “exit point” and don’t get petty over how they accomplish this.

They may  surprise you by “revising” the morning activities to be more and more efficient; arranging clothing items ahead of time (maybe for the entire week) or meticulously assigning school necessities to specific pockets in a backpack, or deciding to eat their favorite brand of cereal every morning. Don’t “freak out” when changes to “your procedure” actually demonstrate how smart (efficient) your AS child is.

Take a look at your own life: how compulsive and controlling are you? You are unlikely to be the “rebellious free spirit” that so many Americans imagine themselves to be.

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Is this is your idea of a “great life”?

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How dreary! Makes one wish that he or she had never been born…

Get over the self-centered fear that your “social standing” will be demolished because your child has chosen “a non-matching” outfit, or has turned out to be a girl who likes flannel shirts and camo pants, but hates dresses, or a boy that loves to wear plaid shirts with plaid  pants. If they are “Aspergers” they are going to be different no matter what you do to attempt to disguise them as “socially normal” conformists.

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Human beings are not “switch boxes” but American psycho-culture proponents demand “black box” robotic behavior.

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My academic weekly schedule: by Mr. X (an actual post comment)

My schedule is online, and sync’d with my iPod Touch and with my HP TouchPad. This enables me to know what I am doing anywhere at any point in time. For years, my wife  and I shared our online calendars, because that made it easier for her and for me to plan our time together. And I booked time for her that would overlap with my “open” time. That was, for me, the only way to maintain a healthy relationship. I follow the same philosophy when I book time for my friends and for my family, as well as for my own health. Nobody can schedule time for THEIR activities when it’s MY time. If you notice, I have left ample time for administrative stuff and for meetings during normal hours.

I sincerely hope that this couple never produces  children…

 

 

Corporate – Political Gullibility / neuro-marketing brain scan-scams

Nature neuroscience EditorialJuly 2004

Brain scams?

‘the buy button in the brain

Excerpt: “The prospect of big corporations or political lobbyists enlisting brain science to manipulate consumer and voter behavior has inevitably raised concerns in some quarters: a watchdog agency founded by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, for instance, has asked the US government to investigate neuro-marketing companies on public health grounds. But given the current state of the science, these worries seem premature. Cognitive science is not yet close to explaining or predicting human decision-making in the real world, and even advocates such as Kilts admit that companies need to be more informed about the technology of fMRI if they are to understand its limitations. It is easy to be seduced by colorful pictures of brain activity and to believe that these images are rich in scientific content. But the images are highly processed and cannot be interpreted without a detailed understanding of the analytical methods by which they were generated. Moreover, these images are invariably produced under controlled laboratory conditions, and it is a major leap to extrapolate to a genetically and culturally diverse population of people in an almost infinite variety of real-world situations.”

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http://www.fastcompany.com (a rah-rah business website)

Thinking Cap: “Mynd” Is the First Dry, iPhone-Compatible, Portable Brain Scanner

Neuromarketing goes mobile with this lightweight, dry, and iPhone- or iPad-compatible new device from NeuroFocus. DiY brain researchers rejoice!

What is “neuromarketing” – the odd corner of marketing research NeuroFocus has staked out for itself? Broadly speaking, neuromarketers measure how the brain and body react to certain stimuli, then extrapolate from that information whether an advertisement, brand, product, or package is having its desired effect. Neuromarketers reportedly had a hand in the 2010 midterm elections, with several consulting for Republican candidates. Neurological research has also been used to help market movies.

The 2016 Presidential election ought to be a cautionary tale for those responsible for “selling” candidates, since the “marketing and polling experts” were so pitifully wrong in their predictions!

Lies about Brain Scans / Dead Salmon

I have posted often about the false claims of scientific reliability and experimental rigor on the part of the Psych. Industry. I’m not alone.

“The low statistical power and the imperative to publish incentivizes researchers to mine their data to try to find something meaningful,” says Chris Chambers, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cardiff. “That’s a huge problem for the credibility and integrity of the field.”

What credibility?

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BOLD Assumptions: Why Brain Scans Are Not Always What They Seem

Moheb Costandi, on DECODER

In 2009, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara performed a curious experiment. In many ways, it was routine — they placed a subject in the brain scanner, displayed some images, and monitored how the subject’s brain responded. The measured brain activity showed up on the scans as red hot spots, like many other neuroimaging studies.

Except that this time, the subject was an Atlantic salmon, and it was dead.

Dead fish do not normally exhibit any kind of brain activity, of course. The study was a tongue-in-cheek reminder of the problems with brain scanning studies. Those colorful images of the human brain found in virtually all news media may have captivated the imagination of the public, but they have also been subject of controversy among scientists over the past decade or so. In fact, neuro-imagers are now debating how reliable brain scanning studies actually are, and are still mostly in the dark about exactly what it means when they see some part of the brain “light up.”

Glitches in reasoning

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measures brain activity indirectly by detecting changes in the flow of oxygen-rich blood, or the blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal, with its powerful magnets. The assumption is that areas receiving an extra supply of blood during a task have become more active. Typically, researchers would home in on one or a few “regions of interest,” using ‘voxels,’ tiny cube-shaped chunks of brain tissue containing several million neurons, as their units of measurement.

Early fMRI studies involved scanning participants’ brains while they performed some mental task, in order to identify the brain regions activated during the task. Hundreds of such studies were published in the first half of the last decade, many of them garnering attention from the mass media.

Eventually, critics pointed out a logical fallacy in how some of these studies were interpreted. For example, researchers may find that an area of the brain is activated when people perform a certain task. To explain this, they may look up previous studies on that brain area, and conclude that whatever function it is reported to have also underlies the current task.

Among many examples of such studies were those that concluded people get satisfaction from punishing rule-breaking individuals, and that for mice, pup suckling is more rewarding than cocaine. In perhaps one of the most famous examples, a researcher diagnosed himself as a psychopath by looking at his own brain scan.

These conclusions could well be true, but they could also be completely wrong, because the area observed to be active most likely has other functions, and could serve a different role than that observed in previous studies.

The brain is not composed of discrete specialized regions. Rather, it’s a complex network of interconnected nodes, which cooperate to generate behavior. Thus, critics dismissed fMRI as “neo-phrenology” – after the discredited nineteenth century pseudoscience that purported to determine a person’s character and mental abilities from the shape of their skull – and disparagingly referred to it as ‘blobology.’

When results magically appear out of thin air

In 2009, a damning critique of fMRI appeared in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Initially titled “Voodoo Correlations in Social Neuroscience” and later retitled to “Puzzlingly high correlations in fMRI studies of emotion, personality, and social cognition,” the article questioned the statistical methods used by neuro-imagers. The authors, Ed Vul of University of California in San Diego and his colleagues, examined a handful of social cognitive neuroscience studies, and pointed out that their statistical analyses gave impossibly high correlations between brain activity and behavior.

“It certainly created controversy,” says Tal Yarkoni, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin. “The people who felt themselves to be the target ignored the criticism and focused on the tone, but I think a large subset of the neuroimaging community paid it some lip service.”

Russ Poldrack of the Department of Psychology at Stanford University says that although the problem was more widespread than the paper suggested, many neuro-imagers were already aware of it. They happened to pick on one part of the literature, but almost everybody was doing it,” he says.

 

The problem arises from the “circular” nature of the data analysis, Poldrack says. “We usually analyze a couple of hundred thousand voxels in a study,” he says. “When you do that many statistical tests, you look for the ones that are significant, and then choose those to analyze further, but they’ll have high correlations by virtue of the fact that you selected them in the first place.”

Not long after Vul’s paper was published, Craig Bennett and his colleagues published their dead salmon study to demonstrate how robust statistical analyses are key to interpreting fMRI data. When stats are not done well enough, researchers can easily get false positive results – or see an effect that isn’t actually there, such as activity in the brain of a dead fish.

The rise of virtual superlabs

The criticisms drove researchers to do better work— to think more deeply about their data, avoid logical fallacies in interpreting their results, and develop new analytical methods.

At the heart of the matter is the concept of statistical power, which reflects how likely the results are to be meaningful instead of being obtained by pure chance. Smaller studies typically have lower power. An analysis published in 2013 showed that underpowered studies are common in almost every area of brain research. This is specially the case in neuroimaging studies, because most of them involve small numbers of participants.

“Ten years ago I was willing to publish papers showing correlations between brain activity and behavior in just 20 people,” says Poldrack. “Now I wouldn’t publish a study that doesn’t involve at least 50 subjects, or maybe 100, depending on the effect. A lot of other labs have come around to this idea.”

Cost is one of the big barriers preventing researchers from increasing the size of their studies. “Neuroimaging is very expensive. Every lab has a budget and a researcher isn’t going to throw away his entire year’s budget on a single study. Most of the time, there’s no real incentive to do the right thing,” Yarkoni says.

Replication – or repeating experiments to see if the same results are obtained – also gives researchers more confidence in their results. But most journals are unwilling to publish replication experiments, preferring novel findings instead, and the act of repeating someone else’s experiments is seen as aggressive, as if implying they were not done properly in the first place. Confirmation by repeat experiments is vital to the scientific method! This “unwillingness” is a SOCIAL IMPOSITION on the validity of scientific inquiry. We wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of the researchers, would we? But no one cares about the consequences to the public!

One way around these problems is for research teams to collaborate with each other and pool their results to create larger data sets. One such initiative is the IMAGEN Consortium, which brings together neuro-imaging experts from 18 European research centers, to share their results, integrate them with genetic and behavioral data, and create a publicly available database.

Five years ago, Poldrack started the OpenfMRI project, which has similar aims. “The goal was to bring together data to answer questions that couldn’t be answered with individual data sets,” he says. “We’re interested in studying the psychological functions underlying multiple cognitive tasks, and the only way of doing that is to amass lots of data from lots of different tasks. It’s way too much for just one lab.”

An innovative way of publishing scientific studies, called pre-registration, could also increase the statistical power of fMRI studies. Traditionally, studies are published in scientific journals after they have been completed and peer-reviewed. Pre-registration requires that researchers submit their proposed experimental methods and analyses early on. If these meet the reviewers’ satisfaction, they are published; the researchers can then conduct the experiment and submit the results, which are eventually published alongside the methods.

“The low statistical power and the imperative to publish incentivizes researchers to mine their data to try to find something meaningful,” says Chris Chambers, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cardiff. “That’s a huge problem for the credibility and integrity of the field.”

Chambers is an associate editor at Cortex, one of the first scientific journals to offer pre-registration. As well as demanding larger sample sizes, the format also encourages researchers to be more transparent about their methods.

Many fMRI studies would, however, not be accepted for pre-registration – their design would not stand up to the scrutiny of the first-stage reviewers. “Neuro-imagers say pre-registration consigns their field to a ghetto,” says Chambers. “I tell them they can collaborate with others to share data and get bigger samples.”

Pushing the field forward

Even robust and apparently straight-forward fMRI findings can still be difficult to interpret, because there are still unanswered questions about the nature of the BOLD signal. How exactly does the blood rush to a brain region? What factors affect it? What if greater activation in a brain area actually means the region is working less efficiently?

“What does it mean to say neurons are firing more in one condition than in another? We don’t really have a good handle on what to make of that,” says Yarkoni. “You end up in this uncomfortable situation where you can tell a plausible story no matter what you see.”

To some extent, the problems neuro-imagers face are part of the scientific process, which involves continuously improving one’s methods and refining ideas in light of new evidence. When done properly, the method can be extremely powerful, as the ever-growing number of so-called “mind-reading” and “decoding” studies clearly show.

_____________________________my comment:

That’s just great! In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of children and adults have been “diagnosed” as having abnormal brains and developmental disorders, as well as numerous “mental illnesses” by charlatans, in the “caring, helping, fixing” industry – people who continue to acquire obscene profits at the expense of parents and children who are the targets of borderline “eugenic” activity.

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It’s likely that with incremental improvements in the technology, fMRI results will become more accurate and reliable. In addition, there are a number of newer projects that aim to find other ways to capture brain activity. For example, one group at Massachusetts General Hospital is working on using paramagnetic nanoparticles to detect changes in blood volume in the brain’s capillaries. Such a method would radically enhance the quality of signals and make it possible to detect brain activity in one individual, as opposed to fMRI that requires pooling data from a number of people, according to the researchers. Other scientists are diving even deeper, using paramagnetic chemicals to reveal brain activity at the cell level. If such methods come to fruition, we could find the subtlest activities in the brain, maybe just not in a dead fish.

 

GAO Criminal Alien Statistics / Shut Up – Stop Arguing – Read Facts

YAK< YAK>YAK: shut up and read, whichever “side” your are on.

GAO United States Accountability Office

Report to Congressional Requesters Criminal Alien Statistics, March 2011

Information on Incarcerations, Arrests, and Costs 

71 PAGES of statistics and analysis –

http://www.gao.gov/assets/320/316959.pdf

 

 

Neurosocial Empathy / I feel your pain – not really

Is this not a great idea?

Is this not a great idea?

One might think that after being yelled at thousands of times by neurosocials, we Asperger types would realize that their stories of pain and frustration (which often are self-imposed; the result of failed actions repeated over and over, or are due to a simple lack of practical or scientific knowledge) are not requests for help. Asperger individuals stupidly persist in offering solutions because it is in our nature to solve problems. If a person describes a situation that is causing them confusion and pain, and if I can unravel a tangle of erroneous beliefs and misinformation that is causing it, why wouldn’t I make the effort? Wake up! This is empathy!

The desire to substantially aid another human being is considered a great defect by neurosocials. Solving problems often requires a change of mind, learning facts and making an effort. Many neurosocials prefer to wait for a miracle.

Asperger people are accused of lacking a Theory of Mind and are told that empathy, compassion, or any ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes is absent from our soulless bodies: The desire to help in ways that produce results is not of value to social humans. The social definition of empathy rejects and excludes rational response and tangible returns. A theater of gestures, facial expressions, words of sympathy, cute balloons and cards are not only preferred, but demanded and scrutinized by the gatekeepers of normal human behavior – Puritanical psychologists who consider their theories (which aren’t actually theories, but dogma), to be the sole measure of human feeling. Some psychologists acknowledge that cognitive empathy does exist, but it doesn’t count toward being an acceptable human being. Hence the label invented by Simon Baron Cohen for Asperger kids: “positive psychopaths.”

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These narrow criteria of what it means to be human not only impinge on the freedom of expression of Asperger types, but social typical people are stripped of honest communication by the well-policed forms of interaction that society imposes.

The majority of any population is composed of low ranking children, women, minorities and the poor; this portion of humanity are required to stifle their thoughts and reactions in order to preserve the vastly unequal layers of the social pyramid. “Allowing” people to speak honestly is socially taboo, because honest expression between people confers equality – moreover, solving problems upsets the social pyramid of power.

Politicians don’t answer questions, but deliver canned speeches about “addressing issues” “having meetings” “talking to their advisors” and they are perpetually  “about to begin looking into the problem.” They claim to “be listening.” New and thorough problem-solving expeditions are promised, but don’t go anywhere. An example is fervent promises to honor veterans, who have been abandoned by the agencies tasked with “caring” for them.

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The ill-treatment of the majority of citizens who occupy the bottom of the social hierarchy, is the source of power at the top. It’s a structural fact: Why would any politician or plutocrat “solve” a problem and put him or herself out of a job? Social typical people are taught that there are no real solutions, only supernatural disappointments. Real action and results are dismissed as more rare than miracles.

There is plenty of shallow emotional empathy floating around: a gesture, a hug, a promise and utterly insincere pledges of support – a word devoid of meaning. When Asperger people don’t perform social charades, we’re effectively exiled by those who claim to know who is normal: after all, the condition called “normal” is the powerful coercive invention of the predators at the top of the pyramid.