I have thought it over. The only rational explanation is:
not my Species.
You are a “student” of human evolutionary development; you are curious about how “humans” came to be Who we are today – Masters of the Universe. You come to this quest with certain assumptions in mind, which you probably are not “consciously” using, but which form a “filter system” that will not only prejudice the “evidence” you “discover” but which pre-classifies what “evidence” is. This is the way it is, for Homo sapiens.
It is obvious to you that “you” (your thoughts, habit, lifestyle, beliefs) are the culmination of “human” excellence; “you” are where evolution was headed all along. “You” includes all the wonders of Western Civilization, which “you” take to be evidence of “your” intelligence, inventiveness, superior intellect, diligence, eagle-eyed observation and analysis, literacy, artist accomplishment, etc. because “you” studied these things in school and look a lot like all the “big-brained males” (this includes female students today) who have “built” Western Civilization (U.S. version) and proven that, well frankly, It’s the best damn civilization EVER!
1. Homo sapiens (males) have big-brains; size is everything. Therefore, any and all evidence” for “evolutionary progress” depends on signs and omens of “cognitive abilities” in those “fossil species” that LED to US. “Dumb” species, de facto, cannot be our ancestors.
Fig. 1 The “supreme” species and attendant females and offspring. The prime evolutionary question is, “How did this glorious species come to be?” It used to be simple enough: A Supreme Male created everything in the universe, including Man, to whom he handed over all of Creation, with “Man” as the master of all Nature. But the invention of Science threw a monkey-wrench into the plot: it seems “man” was not really the center of the Universe, after all… unless… of course, all 3.5 billion years of life on earth could be directed into producing “The Last Ape Standing” What a coup – even better than “special creation” by a supreme male God! We’ll prove that all the forces and processes at work in the universe were necessary to produce “US”.
2. Let’s get to work establishing our superiority to all other species. We can automatically dismiss any life form previous to “humanoids” as unimportant, and fossil humanoids “that count” as ancestors can be identified by “signs” which point in our direction. We can easily define “humanoid” by the categorizing “things we eat”. (Cannibalism is a no-no. You can’t eat the Supreme Species, like it was just another food source)
Fig 2. Lunch. This organized, processed and prepared “nutrition” demonstrates “cognitive abilities” found in no other life form. The sheer amount of brain-power needed to exploit natural resources (fossil fuels) to design, manufacture and transport “plastic” containers, with uniform subdivisions, that create the illusion that $1.50 worth of “food items” is worth $39.95″ is genius! And what about decorating two sacrificial crab claws elevated on a slice of bread with wildflowers sourced from a meadow in Mongolia? Just $49.95. Brilliant.
Let’s see what “the rest of” American humanoids are having for lunch.
Another sign of superior intelligence: The American food industry is paid billions $$ to transform “surplus storage” food into meals for children; and it’s free. How much more compassionate can a supreme species become? Why waste “good brain food” (and good education) on “lesser beings” who will never be intelligent anyway? In fact, we can guarantee impaired cognitive function and stunted development using this brilliant strategy. Note the wonderful array of fossil fuel containers provided, which can be used once and disposed of immediately into landfills. More profit! More socially savvy behavior that creates environmental destruction and millions of defective, low status humanoids. No Neanderthal could accomplish that. Thank God and evolution that we exterminated them just in time!
3. Evidence that Neanderthal didn’t stand a chance of being intelligent enough to compete with us. When the supreme species “goes wild” they do it with superior social cognition. Who needs survival skills when amazing fossil fuel-based non-recyclable immortal plastic products can be purchased at a “wilderness” adventure store? Stupid Neanderthals!
Fig. 3a, 3b Lunch ca. 40,000 y.a. Anatomically Modern Humans (just like Modern Social Humans in every way) take over Eurasia from the Neanderthals with superior social networking.
4. Social behavior explains why AMC became Masters of the Universe: Neanderthals had open “caves” while highly social AMH had open “concept” floor plans with kitchen islands and granite counter tops that facilitated the acquisition of social status. How could Neanderthals have competed with such advanced innovation, which clearly depends on social networking, direct eye contact, empathy, “mind-reading” and high-end finishes?
File this video under, “What Asperger’s mean when we say that neurotypicals are stooopid.”
We are learning that in many ways dogs are much more like people then we thought they were. Consider the following very human situation: A woman is told, “If you are holding any mutual funds, you should liquidate them soon, because a crash is coming in the mutual fund market.” How likely is she to follow this advice if the person speaking to her is her hairdresser? Would she be more likely to take the suggested action if the person were a professional financial advisor?
Research is now accumulating which shows that dogs, like people, tend to evaluate just how much knowledge they think that a person has before accepting their guidance and instructions. Dogs are not simply four-footed robots that can be programmed to respond to instructions regardless of the state of affairs. If they think that a person is knowledgeable, at least when it comes to information about things which are important to them, they are more likely to accept commands from that individual. This was elegantly demonstrated in a series of experiments conducted by Michelle Maginnity and Randolph Grace of the Department of Psychology at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.
They started off by capitalizing on the fact that dogs respond to human gestures, such as pointing. They trained a set of 16 dogs so that they knew that if they went to a container that the researcher pointed to, the researcher would open that container and give them the treat inside of it. After a while, the dog would reliably go to any one of four containers that was pointed to.
Next they erected a low screen which would hide the food containers, but not the upper body of anyone behind it. The dog and its owner sat facing the screen and watched while either of two researchers would obviously bend down and fuss with each of the containers, although the dog could not see them actually manipulating the containers, since their view was blocked by the screen. The researchers would then drop the screen and point to the container with the food.
Here is where things began to get interesting: In the actual experimental test, there are two researchers in the room. One is sent out of the room so that they can’t see where the food is being placed, while the other bends down behind the screen and puts the food treat in one of the containers. The first experimenter is then called back, the screen is dropped, and each of the two experimenters points to a different one of four food containers. Remember that the dog has seen one of these two women leave the room during the time when the food was hidden, and that, of course, means that that woman actually doesn’t have any knowledge as to where the treat is. So when the woman who was absent points to a container, it is likely that she is guessing, while the other experimenter should obviously have the information about where the food is. If the dog is sensible, it should respond to the instruction from the woman who knows. And, it turns out the dogs are sensible: Even though the woman playing the role of the “Knower” and the “Guesser” are randomly changed from trial to trial, in most instances the dog chooses to go to the container indicated by the person who knows.
These investigators followed up by making the situation much more subtle: They set up a situation so that there were three experimenters behind the screen — two women and a man in the middle. While the dog watched, he saw the man bend over and fiddle around with the food containers behind the screen, ultimately placing the food treat in one of them. While he did this one of the women sat with her hands over her eyes, so that she obviously could not see which container had the bait. The second woman also had her hands on her face, but her hands did not cover her eyes, which meant that she could still look down and see where the man had placed the food. So the setup looked much like this:
Once again, the screen was lowered, and each of the women pointed to a different container. Remember: One of these people could not see the placement of the food, and the other could. So whose pointing instruction did the dog respond to? Once again, the dogs acted in a reasonable manner and evaluated the advice of the woman who had the information as being more valuable, and so they ended up choosing the correct container most of the time.
Finally, to see whether dogs will pick up really subtle cues about who has the information they need, the researchers ran a third experiment. This one was set up like the previous test, with the two women and the man who placed the food between them. Only now, both of the women kept their hands in their laps while one container was being baited. There was a difference in the behavior of each of them, as well: The “Knower” attentively watched while the food was being placed, but the “Guesser” looked up at the ceiling, away from the food containers and the dog. As before, when the screen was dropped, the woman who actually knew where the treat was, and the one who was guessing, each pointed to different containers. Once again, the dogs evaluated the state of knowledge of both women and chose significantly more often to follow the advice of the one who knew.
Psychologists believe that these results are really important. They show that dogs have what is called a theory of mind. You shouldn’t confuse this with the idea that dogs have an idea as to how the brain works; theory of mind refers to an individual’s ability to interpret what another individual might be seeing, feeling, and knowing. It involves understanding that others might have a different perspective, a different amount of knowledge, and even different motives and emotional states. Think of it as a sort of mind-reading ability, since it allows us to interpret what is going on in another person’s mind.
In humans, theory of mind develops slowly. Although we have some signs that two-year-olds begin to develop this kind of perspective on behavior, it is not until a child is nearly 4 before he can reliably perform the same task that we see these dogs doing. Most other animals are not very good at this at all: Although chimpanzees and Capuchin monkeys can eventually learn to trust an individual who knows the answer more than one who does not, it requires many learning trials and is not very stable.
It appears that there is something special about dogs. They may have evolved, or perhaps we should say “co-evolved,” to live cooperatively with human beings. If one species depends so much upon interactions with another species, a little bit of “mind reading” might help a lot. So it was really adaptive for dogs to evolve in a way in which they could “take our perspective,” and also learn which information we might reliably have and which we might not.
Based on this set of data, the bottom line seems to be that if you don’t know, and your dog knows that you don’t know, you probably shouldn’t be giving him instructions or advice, since he is likely not to respond to you in that situation.
Yes; it’s tragic: I told my dog to hang on to her mutual funds, but luckily her financial advisor told her to sell, and she did. Now she doesn’t trust me at all – especially since I keep hiding her food in new places, just to drive her crazy.
“Where’s dinner?” I ask her. She always points to the cabinet where I usually store it. “Uh -oh! That’s wrong! It’s in the fridge,” I tell her, but when I open the door it’s not there. (It magically appears from behind my back)
After a few repetitions, she actually thinks it’s in the fridge, where, of course it isn’t. One day, it magically reappears in the original cabinet. The next time I ask, “Where’s dinner?” she just stares at me. (I really did this – kept it up for some weeks until one day, she started talking – I’m not kidding.
Now she stands in front of me and makes the most un-dog-like vocalizations I’ve ever heard. “Wordlike” sounds accompanied by frantic body movements and followed by irate aggressive staring. It seems as if she’s trying to imitate my voice. No kidding! I think I’ve driven her to madness.
So now, we have a “verbal exchange” – (yes, I talk back by imitating her “words” which gets her agitated, if not excited) and then, I feed her. It’s getting really obnoxious; she “does her routine” sometimes, when she really doesn’t want anything, just to torment me. With dogs, Payback’s a Bitch…
I don’t know why the memory of a particular wedding I attended many, many years ago popped into mind this morning, but I think it has something to do with Mother’s Day advertising – all those weepy, teary, heart-tugging moments when Mom gets handed a cheap diamond pendant sold as “unique” and “just for her” in the millions by retailers from Walmart to the “junk jeweler” at the Mall.
As I’ve related before, “legislated “holidays” were a problem for the emotionally inept members of my dysfunctional family. My father was Asperger and utterly clueless as to “romantic” or social gestures, so leaving the selection of a gift for the Mother of his Children was “asking for it.” The gift would more likely “hurt my mother’s feelings” rather than help to cement their relationship… a card was about as good as it got. Maybe brunch after church, except he would forget to make a reservation and we’d have to trudge from place to place, crowded with joyous, flower-bedecked women and their family entourages, only to end up at the “seat yourself” Pancake House.
When I recall my mother’s face, she’s perpetually on the verge of tears; life seemed to be a long, long journey of disappointments. There was a conflict point, a turning point, when she had chosen my father for practical reasons that were perfectly reasonable at the time, during the Post-War 1940s. She had been the Belle of the Ball in her small town; lots of suitors, presenting ardent affection, presents, marriage. She turned them all down as not “good enough” to get her out of that town and into a middle class life of respectability.
Her “eggs” were getting old, not that she would ever say such a thing. She was pushing 30 – a disgrace and sign of doom in those times. “Beaus” were becoming scarcer. Everyone was married. A chance visit with friends to a bigger city; a chance meeting with my father. A “catch” in her eyes. College-educated, a good job, conscientious and not terribly experienced with women. They married within three months. My mother “sealed the deal” by getting pregnant immediately, despite the two having agreed to wait at least a year. I have no idea what the birth control situation was; one didn’t discuss such things with parents, or at least my parents. They must have had access to something, because I was “planned” and didn’t appear until six years later.
My father’s parents had divorced; it affected him deeply, and he had vowed to “make it work” for the sake of any children. My mother knew that he would never leave, once a child was born. That’s an Asperger, for you: loyal unto death, like a Rottweiler. But, that wasn’t “good enough” for her, even though that’s “the deal” she had made. Where was the fawning romance, the constant attention, the man that she could “retrain” to be a constant suitor for her affection, affection that would not ever be forthcoming? She really was damaged and incapable of “generous” emotion.
Bad news! The marriage sank into routine: my mother’s constant dissatisfaction and my father’s satisfaction in his work as an engineer became two anchors of contention – all those wonderful gadgets to be designed tested and made to “work” in a secure, predictable universe of mathematics and engineering three feet from his nose on the drawing board. Then home, precisely at 5:30 p.m. Dinner on the table, the house clean, the kids scrubbed and dressed and “normal”. My parents had “date night” every Saturday, going out dining and dancing with other couples from church or the neighborhood. He really did try to conform to a social routine that was typical in those days, but fell short on social “niceties” – he didn’t drink or smoke; play golf, go bowling, or hang out at the bar with the guys, or play poker, gamble or fool around. He worked, he provided, he loved his children, a bit awkwardly, yes, but consistently, attentively and devotedly, when it came to all things educational.
My mother secretly wept over her “lost world” of ardent boyfriends and became a perpetually resentful “buzz killer” for all of us. Not surprisingly, my brother never married. I tried it once, but the “picture” of my parents was too cruel: as an Asperger female, it was apparent that I could never “settle for” the prison each of my parents had volunteered to commit to for LIFE.
The “wedding” anecdote I woke up to this morning is really of no consequence; it was my parents’ wedding that I was forced to attend for the eighteen years that I lived with them. After my mother died, my father stated that he’d known that the marriage was a mistake after one month, but he’d given his word; his promise, his vow never to divorce. I stifled my objection: Without marriage to my mother, my father’s life would have been miserable: he wouldn’t have had children or anything, really, except his job. She agreed to “put up with” his (undiagnosed) Asperger-ness in exchange for a nice house and strange gifts on holidays. They lived out a destiny that they both committed to back in the 1940s after “knowing each other” for three months. The fact that they never came to know each other seems beside the point.
I do not blame my parents for my aversion to marriage, although it certainly didn’t help. My incessant curiosity about “what’s next” in life made sticking to one person, one career, one location simply impossible. And it precluded having children; there would be one or more “screwed up adults” screaming at me today, Mother’s Day, that I had ruined their lives, that is, if they were speaking to me at all, and those accusations would be true. Parenting necessitates so much sacrifice, even in “happy marriages” and I wouldn’t have been able to do that.
These are Asperger instincts and are non-negotiable “social” imperatives.
These “ways of behaving” are not ABSTRACTIONS; each is an innate response to “getting along with” other human beings, animals, plants and the earth.
Do we “live up to” these principles? No, but we TRY ARDENTLY to do so; we expect other people to respect these “obvious good ideas” for making life tolerable and less violent. In this, we are indeed “misguided” –
Although “social typicals” say that these are foundations of democracy, and “ideals” to be followed, these mandates are anathema to the social hierarchy and are discouraged (banned) as heretical to the social order.
Do “social typicals” think we’re stupid, naïve, gullible, old-fashioned and hopelessly “nerdy” for believing in behavior based in instinctual (intuitive) sense? Yes.
These are “true instincts” – automatic responses to the “disorder” inherent in human social behavior, which if you think about, is not very civilized, kind or just.
Aspergers need to know this about themselves and to find ways to use these principles productively and to “look the other way” (not ignore) petty social clashes in everyday life; social life is petty, but also deadly serious. We are different, strange and weird in our instincts in the eyes of social typicals. They can’t help it. Their brains are different than ours. (Humor)
Stimulation is a function of the “information gathering system” of every living organism, from bacteria to giant redwoods, from Tyrannosaurus rex to Chickadees, from ant colonies to your Grandmother. It’s how organisms “know about” the environment; it informs their reactions to the environment.
“Self-stimulation” is common in animals as well as the human animal. In fact, it seems logical that any “behavior” that stimulates a part of the brain is ‘stimulating’ and that most human behavior, whether judged socially to be “positive or negative” is self-stimulating, especially if it is unconscious. I may choose to read a book, but the “motive” may be an innate need to stimulate one or more brain functions.
If you think about it, “being alive” is all about stimulation –
In autism, self-stimulation seems to be a select pattern of behaviors that are “noticed” because of repetition of type and frequency; rocking motions certainly are not exclusive to autism; both Jewish and Islamic traditions incorporate rocking back and forth while reading or reciting text.
I began to think about “stimming” that is not noticeable, but goes on in ourselves and the people around us everyday. I’m reminded of two friends with whom I often ate lunch (at different times and settings) who both had the habit of chewing plastic straws; one only while eating, the other nearly all the time. I found this revolting! One was completely unaware of this habit; the other was aware and it bothered him, but he couldn’t stop. When he tried, he would tear up paper napkins instead. His car was a scene of similar destruction, as if mad squirrels accompanied him everywhere.
As for myself, my stimming, if I’m judging it correctly, would not be noticeable to anyone: I stare at “blue sky” as if it’s a liquid that one can “drink with the eyes.” In fact, I would conclude that it “nourishes” me mentally and emotionally, just as food nourishes the body. How weird is that?
I’m sure that every one of us can identify “stimming” in a thousand different forms in people we know and in ourselves. It’s ha-ha funny! Humans are so much more “wacky” an animal than we care to know or admit to.
So – let’s cut each other some slack… unless “stimming” involves harming self or others, just don’t eat lunch with someone who chews plastic straws.
From the article:
by Gavin Bollard
“Stimming,” also known as self-stimulating behaviors or stereotypy, are repetitive body movements or repetitive movements of objects. Many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) engage in routine stimming. There are different theories as to why individuals engage in self-stimulatory behavior, and it’s likely that the reasons are different for different persons. It may be that the behavior provides sensory reinforcement or sensory stimulation to the individual, or the behavior may be used to regulate sensory input, either increasing stimulation or decreasing sensory overload. Another theory is that there is a brain dysfunction in the areas controlling these behaviors or that the behaviors produce endorphins in the nervous system.
As usual, we have a description of this supposedly “core” autistic behavior as “either this, or that, or the opposite or maybe something else entirely” More evidence for “autistic” being a generalized “label ” that can refer to a plethora of typical, normal, common; atypical, abnormal, uncommon behaviors!
Stimming behaviors in individuals with ASD may include full body or more isolated motions. Examples of full body stims are body rocking and spinning. These motions affect the body’s vestibular sensory system (which helps with balance and orientation of the body). Other stims that do not affect the entire body, but which affect one or more senses, include hand flapping, squinting, staring at rotating objects (for example, a fan), stroking or rubbing surfaces of a certain texture, smelling objects, head banging, and squealing or making other vocalizations. Sometimes these behaviors can be disruptive and interfere with learning or work; others, such as head banging, may involve self-injury and be potentially harmful.
Self-stimulatory behavior is not unique to individuals with ASD and can be seen in typically developing persons. Infants and young children often engage in self-stimulating behaviors; however, as they age and mature, these behaviors start to decline and are replaced by other activities (playing with toys and social interactions, for example). (A “conclusion” that is anecdotal – is it considered a true observation because it has been repeated so often? An example of “folklore” taken up and used as “factual” information?) Even typical adults sometimes stim. For example, many people tap their foot when impatient or anxious, twirl their hair when bored, or tap their fingers when intensely thinking.
Like typical adults, not all individuals with ASD stim to the point of being disruptive or harmful. When it is harmful, however, family members, teachers, employers, and others often wonder if the behaviors can be controlled and, if so, whether it is a good idea to stop the stims. The good news is that many of these behaviors can be reduced through environmental manipulations and teaching self-control. However, before trying to end the stims, the first step is to consider why they happen.
Many adults and children with ASD have reported that they stim to help adapt to their environments. Some people report that they stim to counteract an overwhelming sensory input or as a way to reduce internal anxiety (Since anxiety arises within the organism itself, how can there be “external anxiety?”) Others may feel the need for more sensory stimulation. For some, stimming may be a way to self-regulate behavior, to “keep it together,” so to speak. Sometimes the stimming behaviors may be calming; other times, they may be a way to maintain focus and attention. Because stimming is repetitive, it can easily become a habit for many individuals with ASD and may simply become pleasurable in and of itself, outside of any self-regulatory benefits. Indeed, self-stimulatory behavior may serve multiple functions across settings.
How is self-stimming segregated from “addictions” such as cracking finger joints, chewing gum or whistling incessantly?
If a self-stimulatory behavior prevents an individual from engaging in more meaningful activities or has the potential to cause physical harm, it should be stopped. (The Healthcare and Treatment section of the CAR Autism Roadmap™ explains more about self-injurious behaviors and ways to keep loved ones safe.) Punishment should not be used to stop self-stimming behavior. More effective strategies involve gradually decreasing the stim behavior by teaching socially appropriate replacement behavior, using the stim behavior as a natural motivational reward, and teaching self-management skills.
There may be a time and place for some stims, however. For example, to the extent that self-stimulatory behaviors indicate anxiety or emotional arousal, they can be used as a signal for caregivers, teachers, and employers that the individual may need a break from the current environment. Many individuals with ASD can learn to request a break or find another alternative (although in most cases, stimming is preferred to tantruming) when they get the urge to stim. As noted above, not all self-stimulatory behavior needs to be extinguished. Careful examination of the behavior can help to identify times during the day when stimming behavior is permissible and the settings where it is okay, such as in the privacy of the individual’s own bedroom.
Finally, to the extent that stimming behaviors are sensory seeking, providing opportunities to receive sensory input throughout the day (for example, jumping on a trampoline, frequent opportunities to walk or run, or carrying heavy objects) may result in a reduction of self-stimulatory behaviors. Indeed, regular exercise has been shown to reduce self-stimulatory behaviors in some individuals.
Analyzing the reason for self-stimulatory behaviors should help guide families, schools, and employers in their reactions to the stims. Finding a way to balance work needs with the needs of the individual to self-regulate is key.
Wow! What fun: my childhood artistic hero Albrecht Durer “penned” this funny self-portrait in a 1506 letter to a friend. He supposedly was drunk at the time. I wasn’t drunk when I drew mine ca. 1980, but ‘altered states’ are a common artistic pitfall.
I zeroed in on Durer because of his “natural history” drawings and prints (as opposed to ghastly Christian advertising.) It wasn’t only his masterful technique, but a “sensibility” toward nature; scientific in quality, but conceptually transcendent, as if he merged with the animal or plant he was describing, and in an act of visual wizardry, revealed their essences, their “souls” if you wish. He did this by simply recognizing them as important “beings” in and of themselves; he revealed a world of integrated plants and animals outside the typical human blindness to nature as anything but a “resource” for human exploitation.
It was my desire to become a printmaker, but instead of going to art school, I was offered a job at a graphic design studio: I can see now that Durer’s greatest appeal and influence on me was as the “godfather” of graphic design. (I later studied geology) His work is modern; it remains so, because he is a fine original designer. His “sensibility” has been copied, expanded and his “eye for placement and relationship” of text and image is superb – and has spread across time and space; across cultures.
“Melancholia” 1503 / What artistic-science curious teenager wouldn’t be drawn to this image?
Ice Hockey was invented by the Canadians…
Hockey old school – Chicago, 1962. No helmets or padding; no corporate logos. Player interviews at the end.