The Childish Blame Game / Excuses

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Human beings have expended great time and effort in the fashioning of moral and ethical systems, but beyond the common sense admonition, “Treat other people as you wish to be treated,” which is fundamental to cultures and religions worldwide and throughout history, not much has come of it. Maybe we could forget “the rest” of the instructions, and work on this one sufficient behavior.

Do any of these excuses made by school children for incidents of bullying sound familiar?

He started it. (The universal revenge response.)

He hit me first. (The universal violent revenge response.)

I only stole $10.00; Suzy took her iPhone. (“I’m not as bad as she is” blame shift)

I thought he was going to hit me, so I hit him first. (The preemptive strike rationalization)

She took my notebook so I had to punch her. (The out-of-proportion retaliation)

She’s a retard; she’s too stupid to even know that we tricked her. (Vulnerable people are fair game)

So I lied; big deal. I got what I wanted. (Narcissism – I’m the center of the universe.)

Everybody does it. (Spread the blame; normalize bad behavior)

He wouldn’t give me his laptop so I beat him up. (If people don’t do what I want, I have the right to hurt them.)

I didn’t do it anything. (The simple lie / bluff protest.)

My (Dad, Mom, teacher, the principal, boss) said I could do it. (The appeal to protection by an authority figure.)

How many adults get beyond this “excuse” stage of development? Social groups? Corporations? Nations?

Our leaders never do.

 

But… You may find yourself at the top of the social pyramid $$$ in government, business, the military, Big Pharma, the “helping, caring, fixing industry” or in law enforcement, advertising-media-entertainment and of course politics and the banking-financial industry.

I googled “kids draw bullies” but liked these better!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magic Word Syndrome / Psychology Re-Post

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People come up with persuasive words and phrases to introduce concepts; words control the message as it makes its way into common usage. As a result, we now have more word-concepts than anyone actually knows what to do with. There’s a catch to human language: words are not things.  Words are tools of language that vary from culture to culture. Chien in French refers to a Dog; no one can claim that either word is correct. A person can examine a dog, photograph a dog, or do an autopsy on a dog, but never will the word Chien or Dog or any other word description be found in or on that animal. Even if you could convince everyone on earth to use the generic English label “Dog” you would not be able to find a generic dog; there are only individual dogs.

There is a glitch in the human language system: it’s as if the brain is confused by its ability to use language, as if we experience the words as a message from a dimension outside reality – a supernatural dimension. Language creates ideas (the supernatural dimension) and manipulates thought: modern humans believe that words create reality. So strong is this illusion, that people make decisions based on utterly insubstantial and incorrect social, economic, religious, nutritional, political and health concepts. This has serious and devastating real world consequences.

Water in a bottle: Bottled water; water that comes from a regular tap, inside a building, in a city. This water is the same as that which is dispensed in kitchens around the city, but once packaged in a plastic bottle and falsely labeled spring water, natural water, or pure water, with a clean-looking graphic, consumers will believe the words on the label and argue that the water comes from a pure cold spring in a virgin wilderness, uncontaminated in any way by humans.

Even when people are confronted by the absurdity of the assumptions and are shown photographs of “Holy water” being filled inside a bottling plant, people will claim that it can’t be so: bottled water “tastes better” than the water at home. This self-delusion that tap water, once it is contained in a plastic bottle with a pretty label, magically becomes health-promoting is not benign: the Earth’s oceans and vast landfills are clogged by plastic bottles and other devastating trash.

This is not a woman strangling a cat.

This is not a woman strangling a cat.

This illusion that words create reality applies to things that are not things: to nonexistent properties, such as empathy: Just what are we talking about? Empathy is a name for…..what? An imaginary aspect of human behavior that all humans must display in order to be labeled as fully human? Psychologists are already deep into the supernatural dimension with the assumption that the word Normal describes a majority of human beings, when the condition Normal is a subjectively constructed concept that they themselves have invented, and which changes from culture to culture and over time.

Like wizards and priests that practiced conceptual labeling before them, psychologists claim to “see” into the brains of individuals (using the magic power of technology) and to “see” a label that says “normal human brain” or “subhuman human brain” stamped into blood flow, electrical activity and eye movement – socially imposed “symptoms” (subjective defects) that have been elevated to scientific fact by deceptive manipulation of bad data and the promotion of the attitude that human beings are objects that can be sorted and categorized into acceptable and defective bins.

But what is normal? Normal is an idea that requires massive manipulation of information; it is an artificial construct. Where does information come from? In the case of psychology, from a very small sample of select individuals (college students) who fill out surveys that rely heavily on self-reporting. Tests (another word concept) that test psychological assumptions about human behavior, are designed to prove those assumptions. Normal parameters are in fact nonexistent; only individuals exist. In nature, there are only individuals and that is true of the human animal. Psychology regard human beings as OBJECTS that can be arranged by supernatural concepts. In other words, the foundational concepts of psychology lack empathy.

Normal behavior, as conceived by psychologists, is a clever substitute for acceptable or required behavior. Normal sounds scientific and objective, as if each infant arrives with the same package of instructions, which coincidentally match a list of (religious, supernatural) behaviors, which appear to come from an all-powerful but invisible entity that created and possesses the BLUEPRINT of the universe, and who has handed down the details of this blueprint to psychologist – priests. The idea today (pseudoscientific update from superstition) is that certain children and adults fail to live up to nature’s standard template, but the standards used by psychologists are socially constructed and are never found in nature. It’s the same old religious routine: condemnation of people who are different and ‘refuse’ to obey. Ideas about acceptable human behavior have their origin in human concepts that are attributed to an absolute and permanent supernatural template that is in fact a socially acceptable hallucination.

Humans were prey animals for most of our existence; once we dealt effectively with predators, we became predators, that is, males became hunters. Pregnant women, women responsible for children, and young children, are unlikely hunters. Females underwent sexual selection for early puberty and the retention of childlike physical and psychological traits into adulthood (if they lived to adulthood), an early step in domestication. That is, women remain prey animals.

Predators, then and now.

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Modern humans have been changed by 10,000+ years of domestication. Children born into a predator class will be raised to be predators. In American culture, money confers behavioral leeway, so a license to exploit others can be earned, even if a child begins life humbly. It’s the American Dream. People at the bottom are supposed to stay put, which is why obstacles are put in the way of people at the bottom. Predatory behavior is criminal behavior if you live at the bottom; it’s the key to success at the top of the pyramid, which is why activities at the top are left unregulated and top predators rarely pay for their profitable predation.

This then, is why Asperger individuals are so reviled; the taboo of disobedience to the social hierarchy is a very big taboo: a No-No, a travesty, an attack on authority, God, and corporate profits. In the case of Asperger individuals, this is utterly ridiculous. We aren’t even on the pyramid! We inhabit a separate Flatland of equality in which all things and all people simply exist. In order to be fulfilled, we require honesty from other people and justice for everyone.

We are unhappy because our values will never be more than empty words in the social universe. 

Ironically, courtesy of men like Thomas Jefferson, our values are supposed to inform the ‘democratic’ principles that are the foundation of our country. How abused are the notions of equality and liberty, of diversity and happiness!

One couldn’t even organize a cocktail party of Asperger’s types, let alone a political party, and yet we are characterized in the media as dangerous, cunning and aggressive. Mostly, we are told that we need fixed, as if wings ought to be clipped from birds because deer aren’t supposed to fly. It’s bizarre.

Asperger people are not modern social humans, nor can we be socialized. Our brains function more like so-called primitive people (Wild Humans) who inhabited pre-hypersocial environments. Asperger females are unlike modern social females; we often lack “domesticated” behavior, and prefer animals to people. When in the presence of social humans we are mystified – gob smacked by demands that make no sense to our concrete, and decidedly non-supernatural brains.

Cerebral Asymmetry / Asperger Brain Differences

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society / Biological sciences

The evolution and genetics of cerebral asymmetry

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1519/867/

Michael C Corballis

Fake “Nature” documentaries defended as better than “Reality”

How Nature Documentaries are Fake: A Filmmaker’s Perspective

Simon Cade is an English Filmmaker and Director who owns and runs the YouTube Channel, DSLRguide in which he teaches both aspiring and weathered Filmmakers the art of making movies. Cade is 19 years old, a “director” and teaches filmmaking. Jeez! His casual attitude about “reality” reveals a common, neotenic inability to distinguish “lies” from scientifically established facts, which is A-OK in the modern social “value” system.

How much talent is wasted because society doesn’t like the package it comes in?

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In the day-to-day experience of an Asperger child, moments of peace are rare. Whatever you are thinking or doing, someone, either a parent or teacher, or maybe another child, will interrupt you, to ask that you participate in another activity, such as playing a game with a group of children. If you don’t respond, or you resist their prodding, or if you state clear and repeated rejections, sweet tones of persuasion turn to harsh words and insults. An adult will express personal disappointment in your reluctance to obey and will continue to pressure you, as if whatever you are occupied with is not only unimportant, but that preferring to be alone means that you are depressed or unhappy, and that joining the group will cheer you up, which isn’t true. If you persist in thinking that what you are reading, or drawing or building is more interesting than what the other children are doing, you are apt to be yelled at and physically relocated like a disobedient dog. When this happens, the waves of anger that were hidden beneath the adult’s nice words hit like a shock wave. The effect is visceral and devastating.

It is said that Asperger children can’t infer what is going on in another person’s mind, but the message is clear: people, especially adults, will only like you if you agree with their statements, however false or petty, and obey their instructions, and not when you get around to it, but now! Your willingness to conform must be expressed in signs made by body, face and words. It’s not enough that you act promptly as they wish, but a child or grown person must show his or her deference to a person of superior status. It soon becomes evident that no social interaction is neutral: this ‘status thing’ is the point of social interaction. What is often referred to as ‘busy work’ takes place in schools and workplaces day in and day out, simply to prove that a certain category of human is The Boss. Obedience is a social necessity because it demonstrates that a child or adult will subordinate its happiness and well-being to the group. Rules and instructions are often designed to insult and confuse people, to challenge their morality or sense of fair play and for no other purpose than to test their willingness to shed their individual humanity and to become a tool in the construction and maintenance of the Social Pyramid – to blindly believe that The Boss Knows Best.

The Asperger brain simply doesn’t understand this social compulsion, not because we are dumb, defective, dangerous or disabled, but because inequality of status is alien to our instinct for fair play, justice and reason. For us the world is integrated, coherent, and dynamic and is a continuous expression of Nature’s truths: the universe as described by social concepts is a sad and dreary spectacle of human arrogance and ignorance; a childish place maintained by violence, lies and deprivation; established by the denial of human worth and by denial of basic needs: water, food, shelter to those who “don’t count”. Those who are on top must imprison millions of human beings on the low levels of the Social Pyramid in order to feel good.

The Asperger outlook on people is nearly the opposite: people are just people. Instead of a steep pyramid on which millions of human beings struggle for dominance, we have a visual landscape of reality in our minds. Each human, animal, plant, and object in the landscape is distinct and “counts” because our perception of the environment is concrete: humans live with their feet on the ground, not above or below, but as equal agents of Nature. Cooperation, not competition for status, makes sense to us. Let each human fulfill his or her gifts; don’t waste resources. How much talent is wasted because Society doesn’t like the package it comes in?

Graphic Novels for Visual Thinkers / Educating Aspergers

Support a new Middle School project in New York! (from a site offering funding for teacher proposals)

Graphic Novels Motivate Readers With Asperger Syndrome

My students need a library of graphic novels to motivate readers because these books provide the visual cues kids with Asperger and autism need to truly understand characters.

 

My ten students are middle-schoolers who have Asperger Syndrome.

Students in my classroom have difficulty understanding people, so it’s not surprising that they also struggle to infer characters’ motives and purpose in books. Nonfiction, full of facts? No problem! But fiction? The majority of my students with Asperger Syndrome could leave it completely.

Vintage “graphic novels” were aimed at boys who didn’t like to read.

They like to follow rules – but they make a lot of their own. They like to be right, so they hate to admit when they don’t know something, and they avoid things that are difficult. Tough concepts, like characterization, theme and tone in a novel, make them feel uncomfortable – so they’d rather not read fiction. And, as educators know, the only thing that really improves reading once the school day ends, is more reading. Then I found the novel, The Inventions of Hugo Cabret. We only have one copy – I borrowed it from our library, and they want it back! But the students were riveted. Not only were they fascinated by the format of the book – half graphic novel, half traditional – but they understood Hugo’s emotions, portrayed as they were with matching drawings, moving incrementally forward! Experiments with other graphic novels are also proving successful, but we don’t have a lot of them to go around.

I am requesting class sets of popular graphic novels for my self-contained English class of students with Asperger Syndrome (and High-Functioning Autism.) The novels I request will be taught in the same manner as traditional literature, and I will compare each work with a traditional novel, which we will also read. This will help my students be on equal footing with their peers, because they will have more insight into concepts about characterization (as well as plot, theme, tone, etc.) when they rejoin their peers in high school reading more traditional works. I hope that, ultimately, these graphic novels lead them to enjoy literature in a way that many people without autism do – for the love of the story and the characters we would otherwise not know.

I was a MAD Magazine addict and a sucker for cats and rabbits dressed in charming clothing.

Please help me bridge the “understanding gap” for my students, who are so smart and fun and have so much potential. Help them understand literature by opening the door, using pictures with the text, and engendering a level of understanding that their disability would otherwise prevents them from obtaining. Thank you so much for reading my proposal.

Remember when all childhood schoolbooks had plenty of beautiful illustrations – stylized but realistic (not infantilized and deformed neotenic blobs) FOR ALL CHILDREN? Maybe our “old-fashioned” predecessors in publishing and education knew a lot more than we do about visual thinking being basic to the human ability to learn…

What “The World” Sounds like to (Many) Asperger People

The woman who made this audio track is correct! I could not bear to listen longer than a few seconds. If you can listen to this COMFORTABLY, you will likely not be able to understand what an Asperger person goes through daily, when trapped in social typical environments.

One particular point: It’s nearly impossible to pay attention to and to understand what a person is saying when “background noise” is not in the background! It’s competing with the person speaking; the impulse is to get away from the discordant “sounds” – the effect is like being tortured. Truly!

 

The Elites Complain about the Inequality they Create!

The New York Times The Great Divide / a series about inequality

Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth

February 16, 2013

By: Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, a professor at Columbia and a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and chief economist for the World Bank, is the author of “The Price of Inequality.”

Here goes the Blah, Blah, Blah!

President Obama’s second Inaugural Address used soaring language to reaffirm America’s commitment to the dream of equality of opportunity: “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.” (WOW! I agree. What a whopper of a lie!)

The gap between aspiration and reality could hardly be wider. Today, the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. Study after study has exposed the myth that America is a land of opportunity. This is especially tragic: While Americans may differ on the desirability of equality of outcomes, there is near-universal consensus that inequality of opportunity is indefensible. The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity.

Perhaps a hundred years ago, America might have rightly claimed to have been the land of opportunity, or at least a land where there was more opportunity than elsewhere. (We must remember how inhuman and devastating conditions were for poor people in Europe and other parts of the world, which caused mass emmigration to occur) But not for at least a quarter of a century. Horatio Alger-style rags-to-riches stories were not a deliberate hoax, but given how they’ve lulled us into a sense of complacency, they might as well have been.

It’s not that social mobility is impossible, but that the upwardly mobile American is becoming a statistical oddity. According to research from the Brookings Institution, only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category, and just 6 percent born into the bottom fifth move into the top. Economic mobility in the United States is lower than in most of Europe and lower than in all of Scandinavia.

Another way of looking at equality of opportunity is to ask to what extent the life chances of a child are dependent on the education and income of his parents. Is it just as likely that a child of poor or poorly educated parents gets a good education and rises to the middle class as someone born to middle-class parents with college degrees? Even in a more egalitarian society, the answer would be no. But the life prospects of an American are more dependent on the income and education of his parents than in almost any other advanced country for which there is data.

How do we explain this? Some of it has to do with persistent discrimination. Latinos and African-Americans still get paid less than whites, and women still get paid less than men, even though they recently surpassed men in the number of advanced degrees they obtain. Though gender disparities in the workplace are less than they once were, there is still a glass ceiling: women are sorely underrepresented in top corporate positions and constitute a minuscule fraction of C.E.O.’s.

Discrimination, however, is only a small part of the picture. Probably the most important reason for lack of equality of opportunity is education: both its quantity and quality. After World War II, Europe made a major effort to democratize its education systems. We did, too, with the G.I. Bill, which extended higher education to Americans across the economic spectrum.

But then we changed, in several ways. While racial segregation decreased, economic segregation increased. After 1980, the poor grew poorer, the middle stagnated, and the top did better and better. Disparities widened between those living in poor localities and those living in rich suburbs — or rich enough to send their kids to private schools. A result was a widening gap in educational performance — the achievement gap between rich and poor kids born in 2001 was 30 to 40 percent larger than it was for those born 25 years earlier, the Stanford sociologist Sean F. Reardon found.

Of course, there are other forces at play, some of which start even before birth. Children in affluent families get more exposure to reading and less exposure to environmental hazards. Their families can afford enriching experiences like music lessons and summer camp. They get better nutrition and health care, which enhance their learning, directly and indirectly.

Unless current trends in education are reversed, the situation is likely to get even worse. In some cases it seems as if policy has actually been designed to reduce opportunity: government support for many state schools has been steadily gutted over the last few decades — and especially in the last few years. Meanwhile, students are crushed by giant student loan debts that are almost impossible to discharge, even in bankruptcy. This is happening at the same time that a college education is more important than ever for getting a good job. (Isn’t it massively insulting for one of the ELITES to point out what “they” did to “us” as if it “just happened” somehow? )

Young people from families of modest means face a Catch-22: without a college education, they are condemned to a life of poor prospects; with a college education, they may be condemned to a lifetime of living at the brink. And increasingly even a college degree isn’t enough; one needs either a graduate degree or a series of (often unpaid) internships. Those at the top have the connections and social capital to get those opportunities. Those in the middle and bottom don’t. The point is that no one makes it on his or her own. And those at the top get more help from their families than do those lower down on the ladder. Government should help to level the playing field. (Wow! Since “the government” IS THE ELITES, why would they do something totally against their own supremacy?)

Americans are coming to realize that their cherished narrative of social and economic mobility is a myth. Grand deceptions of this magnitude are hard to maintain for long — and the country has already been through a couple of decades of self-deception. (To the contrary: self-deception and deception are social typical high accomplishments!)

Without substantial policy changes, (which will never occur) our self-image, and the image we project to the world, will diminish — and so will our economic standing and stability. Inequality of outcomes and inequality of opportunity reinforce each other — and contribute to economic weakness, as Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton economist and the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has emphasized. We have an economic, and not only moral, interest in saving the American dream.

Policies that promote equality of opportunity must target the youngest Americans. First, we have to make sure that mothers are not exposed to environmental hazards and get adequate prenatal health care. Then, we have to reverse the damaging cutbacks to preschool education, a theme Mr. Obama emphasized on Tuesday. We have to make sure that all children have adequate nutrition and health care — not only do we have to provide the resources, but if necessary, we have to incentivize parents, by coaching or training them or even rewarding them for being good caregivers. The right says that money isn’t the solution. They’ve chased reforms like charter schools and private-school vouchers, but most of these efforts have shown ambiguous results at best. Giving more money to poor schools would help. So would summer and extracurricular programs that enrich low-income students’ skills.

Finally, it is unconscionable that a rich country like the United States has made access to higher education so difficult for those at the bottom and middle. (Actually, predatory student loans have made it EASY for students to “go to college” but not to get a valuable education; most degrees at this point are “remedial” high school diplomas. Too few students complete degrees, but leave with enormous debt, and no  job skills.) There are many alternative ways of providing universal access to higher education, from Australia’s income-contingent loan program to the near-free system of universities in Europe. A more educated population yields greater innovation, a robust economy and higher incomes — which mean a higher tax base. Those benefits are, of course, why we’ve long been committed to free public education through 12th grade. But while a 12th-grade education might have sufficed a century ago, it doesn’t today. Yet we haven’t adjusted our system to contemporary realities. (The “contemporary reality” is traditional reality: profit and greed are important; human well-being is not.)

The steps I’ve outlined are not just affordable but imperative. Even more important, though, is that we cannot afford to let our country drift farther from ideals that the vast majority of Americans share. We will never fully succeed in achieving Mr. Obama’s vision of a poor girl’s having exactly the same opportunities as a wealthy girl. But we could do much, much better, and must not rest until we do.

Blah, Blah, Blah

Dogs Prefer People Who Have the Answers / Too good to pass up

by Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. / The Psychologist from British Columbia who holds down “Canine Corner” at Psychology Today.

Posted Apr 26, 2017
 

Dogs Prefer Advice From People Who Actually Have the Answers

Dogs try to “read your mind” to see if you have the information that they need.

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.

Remember: Psychology “experts” claim that ASD Asperger people HAVE NO THEORY OF MIND. That means that if we were dogs, we would be developmentally defective dogs!

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.

What a relief! At least we qualify as “normal” mammals or even primates!

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…