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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Simon Baron-Cohen Replies to Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

Several months ago I reviewed Simon Baron-Cohen's latest book and interviewed him for Countering and Science 2.0. In the months since his new book came out, autistics and family members have responded to the argument that autistic individuals lack empathy with wide-ranging posts on empathy, theory of mind, autism as a civil rights issue, and more. Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg created a new blog devoted to the issue, Autism and Empathy, which I have contributed to. In the interest of dialogue, I asked Dr. Baron-Cohen if he would be interested in responding to the reactions his work has received. What follows is his response (screen captures of a pdf file, also available as a google doc).










34 comments:

sasto65 said...

I'm a person with Asperger's. I'd like science to consider that as well as being self comforting, stimming, to my eye and my feeling, may be a form of expression, not unlike facial expression, if so it may be a form of body language.
I'd also be interested in the results of an E.S. Quotient test that did not rely on hearing spoken language or seeing body language. Let's say a piece of music someone wrote was played, and the child was asked to read the emotion intended, and emotional response to the music might have meaning for your studies. Alternately, they could listen to someone hum a tune. Maybe have them listen to how someone closes a door.
I'd be interested to know how this test is done where someone is deaf, and blind as well. These might apply,I'm unsure.
I'd also like to see results on the degrees of mindblindness where Neurotypicals are asked to identify what those with Autism/Asperger's are feeling. Following that, I'd like to see how many will fall into the category of expressing some form of compassion or empathy, as opposed to demanding the Autistic person act differently to comfort the Neurotypical person.

usethebrainsgodgiveyou said...

Dr. Baron-Cohen, I think it's wonderful that you see with the ever-critical eyes of Science, but don't see that you have managed to dismiss as "less than" a whole group of people who don't have the ability to fight your "expertise".

Your deeds are indeed unkind. What have you proven, but that it is right to further ostracize an exceedingly marginalized segment of society? I doubt that was you intention, but is being "right" so important to you that the price paid by others isn't a consideration?

Should others follow you, they will keep digging a hole that does absolutely nothing to help the most vulnerable of people. What exactly do you hope to prove?

There are none so blind as those who will not see. Forgive me, I am autistic in many ways, and am just telling you what I think without a barrier of social niceties.

It reminds me of phrenololgy...You have PROOF of the autistics inadequacy. Now show me proof of your humanity.

Xanthe Wyse said...

Here's my take on all of this:

http://www.aspergerschild.org/1/post/2011/09/autism-empathy-debate.html

In a nutshell, although appreciate there is something in Baron-Cohen's theories, they don't tell a fair and full picture and they add to stigma by using terms that reinforce negative stereotypes in the public mind eg 'no empathy' and 'extreme male brain'. I doubt the public will 'get' the subtle differences Baron-Cohen says are there.

chavisory said...

Mr. Baron-Cohen, I appreciate a lot of your work with regards to autism, including your hypotheses about extreme male brain and E-S theory, which have had a lot of value to me although I know Rachel likes them a lot less. But...

I've had at least two irony headache-inducing experiences this week attempting to explain basic humanitarian decency to non-autistic people. By no means am I suggesting that science just shouldn't talk about things that might be unpleasant or hurtful for people to hear, but, when I hear about autistic people supposedly being empathy-impaired, and then I have to go explain to typical people why it's wrong to hurt/humiliate/degrade others, and why it HURTS me to hear about injustice and callousness inflicted on others because of who they are, or sometimes just for sport...it hurts my head as well as my heart.

It seems to me to be true that we *learn* empathy differently than NT people, but I can't for the life of me believe that the end results are inferior. Given what I've experienced from non-autistic people who supposedly have intact empathy.

sasto65 said...

There is a test I'd like to see repeated with Autistic people only to compare results with NT's. I don't recall the name, but subjects were asked to deliver electric shocks to someone they couldn't see while peer pressure was applied to the person to shock the unseen person. The shocks weren't real, but the unseen person responded as if they were. You'll remember this.
I'd like to know the results if Autistic people were asked to do the same thing. This should, if I'm correct, show that NT's have a degree of empathy that ends with fear of rejection. Acceptance by others or fitting in comes before empathy as I understand them. Common rebuttal would be that I lack empathy for not comforting them in their need to be accepted while they are hurting another human being, if I understand that correctly. In the absence of them harming another, I can be comforting.
In teenage situations I was in where I came up on a fight of some sort, Nt's gathered in a circle watching. Some comforted eachother, and some cheered the fight on. I'm guessing their display of empathy would be in comforting eachother. I didn't do this. I went in to stop the fight, stop the physical harm and humiliation of those involved. Again, while some NT's might have had the empathy to want the fight stopped, they didn't move past the acceptance of the crowd to take any empathetic action, and many actually cheered on the harm and humiliation of another human being. Perhaps this situation could be faked and tested.
All I know to do is keep being patient with NT's, I have compassion for thier need to be in groups, and understand it provides a feeling of safety for them. As far as them harming others to protect not only themselves, but their social fitting in, I find it difficult not to equate that behavior with animals. That's my best compassion for what appears to be very vicious otherwise. I keep practing patience, while I do the empathetic action of protecting others, and hope they'll evolve to be able to get past the self centered, fear based clinging, and move toward more empathy for others. Every once in a while, one shines. For that, I keep believing in them.
Back to the electric shock test. I think it would be a rarity for an Autistic person to harm a person, seen or unseen, peer pressure or not.
I wanted to take away the idea of Autistics or NT's having empathy for eachother. Introducing a third person for both to react to, might do this. I believe results will show a not only equal, but greater empathy in Autistic people that would include self sacrifice both social and physical for the care of another. We've already seen NT's results, and they were not very promising.

chavisory said...

I think you're on to something, sasto65. I can't even count the number of times during my childhood when I was told I didn't have any empathy, or that I was being insensitive or mean or not understanding enough, when the situation was that I wouldn't agree with my peers, parents, or authority figures that something was okay that I did not believe was okay. I supposedly lacked empathy because I wouldn't say what others wanted me to say and believe what they wanted me to believe in order to validate themselves.

sasto65 said...

Chavisory, yes. I'm sorry you've been asked to go agsint what you believed to be right.
I had similar situation. Years ago as an adult, my brother had been hurt badly in an accident by his best friend. I went to my brother's hospital room and sat with him, listened. He had no malice for his friend. I took a break and NT friends and family were gathered supporting eachother in terrible revenge ideas for this young man. I walked on and saw him. I immeadiately ran to him, and told him my brother would be ok. He was inconsolable, and even wished he could take my brother's place. I walked him back outside, advising that he leave, and contact my brother later, because family and friends would have at least verbally hurt him horribly. I went back to my brother and quietly with few words told him what I'd done. He smiled and said, "Thankyou!" and I stayed by him.
To NT family and friends I was totally without empathy. My morals don't include harming the innocent, or neglecting the hurt to indulge in revenge fantasies.

Sarah said...

http://psych.wisc.edu/lang/pdf/Gernsbacher_autistic_modules.pdf

Ali said...

What Simon Baron-Cohen seems to fail to understand is that we know full well that his tests like the EQ and AQ "show" that people on the spectrum are less empathetic, with a tendency to systemize. We are objecting to the instrument he uses to measure. You can't just write a test, declare that a low score means low empathy, and then write questions you think people with autism will fail to answer correctly--and then say that their failure means we lack empathy. It's really terrible science. I can't even touch the horrible bullshit that is the extreme male brain gender essentialist blather.

codeman38 said...

Just bringing to your attention that the PDF downloads with a .doc extension-- I had to show extensions and rename it in order to actually open it. If there's any way you could rename it on the server to have a .pdf extension, that would be hugely helpful.

(I needed the PDF rather than the images so that I could read the text in a legible size and color scheme.)

codeman38 said...

And as for the actual content of the PDF, one thing that bugs me about a lot of Baron-Cohen's responses is that his description of the theory in this response often appears to contradict his work elsewhere.

For instance, take question #10, the one about systemizing. I've always understood what Baron-Cohen's intent was from reading the literature: autistic people are better with systemizing in some domain, but it will not be the same domain for everyone.

The problem, however, is that this is not what the SQ test actually tests for! In fact, Baron-Cohen's description is quite counter to how the test works: you'll only get a high systemizing score if you create mental systems for a lot of different domains, ranging from cars to architecture to money to odds to computers to stereos to biology to maps to... well, you get the idea.

Xanthe Wyse said...

I got a high systemizer score, despite the fact that I selected in my answers that I was not interested in machines, did not track money, did not have a memory for data like dates/numbers & not particularly organized etc. All of which I figured were 'systemizer' (still confused as to what exactly that means - person that puts things in categories? Or person who prefers thinking & things over people?). I know I'm analytical but that's not the same thing?

KWombles said...

pdf link fixed and link to it as a .docx on google documents added. Screen captures for this on the site are needed because I can't convert either file into blogger without messing up the layout or losing the graphs.

Hopefully, these other options render the piece readable for all everyone.

Xanthe Wyse said...

This topic irritates me immensely. A post I just wrote about SBC - social 'science' is soft science

http://www.aspergerschild.org/1/post/2011/09/simon-baron-cohen-social-science-is-soft-science.html

sasto65 said...

@ Ali, I really appreciate your comment. The tests aren't applicable here. It reminds me of standard I.Q. testing given to people who for whatever reason never learned to read. They may be able to do and handle anything infront of them in life, but that test would "prove" they were zero intelligent..Flawed choice of tests, nothing more.

jaynn said...

The first point really missed the point of Rachel's criticism. I don't doubt that the EQ test is a useful tool for diagnosing autism, but it should not taken as implying anything more. Autistics often speak of how their way of relating to the world is different from NTs--of COURSE we're going to score badly on a test that measures how well we fit into that framework.

Also, he completely omitted the counter-argument that autistics find the same deficiency when dealing with NTs. We don't understand them, but neither do they understand us. And unlike us, who have to adapt to fit into society, they don't feel the need to try and figure us out. The whole 'theory of mind' crap hurts us immensely, because on top of struggling to figure out what is obvious to others, we have to deal with the pain of others ignoring OUR realities.

I tend to see the whole cognitive empathy thing as being similar to math skills--some people are naturally good, while others struggle with it. And since cognitive empathy is something that is rarely formally taught like Math is, we are thought to be 'stupid' when we don't get it. To me, math is simple, and it is frequently difficult for me to understand how others struggle with it. I suspect we look the same to outsiders when it comes to cognitive empathy.

Ettina said...

"Let's say a piece of music someone wrote was played, and the child was asked to read the emotion intended, and emotional response to the music might have meaning for your studies."

That's been done:

https://wiki.inf.ed.ac.uk/twiki/pub/ECHOES/RecognitionEmotions/Heaton1999.pdf

Autistic and NT kids do not differ in their ability to perceive emotion in music.

sasto65 said...

@ Ettina,
Fabulous! Thankyou! I'm sure this must have been tested on NT's as well. It said we showed no deficits in processing music.
It has to mean, the empathy is there, rather they found a test to prove it. Ofcourse, we know this, but science does need it's tests, empirical evidence is their language.
There it is. Bravo!and Thanks again.

sasto65 said...

Ettina,
I'm sorry. I got so excited to see the link, I overlooked that you'd already said, "Autistic and NT kids do not differ in their ability to percieve emotion in music."
That was so beautiful, I wanted to see it again! smiles.

Sarah said...

All of the comments here do a great job of deconstructing Baron-Cohen's response. One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is his rather bizarre interpretation of stimming. Stimming is a *sensory* thing. It feels good. (And BTW, it feels good even when I don't repeat the motion for very long). And non-autistic people do it, too. The main difference is that autistic people generally do it more obviously and more frequently, which I think is due to our sensory differences and the way we experience our bodies and environments. I don't see it as being the same as pursuing a special interest at all. But then, Baron-Cohen's never really focused much on the sensory/motor aspects of autism, so it's not surprising that his explanation for stimming is so poor. I feel like he is trying to shoe-horn stimming into the "systemizing" theory even though it doesn't really fit very well at all.

There's a lot more to autism than systemizing/empathizing, but Baron-Cohen is so focused on making everything fit his theory that he ends up completely misinterpreting us a lot of the time.

I don't really like all-encompassing "theories" of autism, as a general rule. But I definitely see more validity in theories that emphasize sensory and movement differences, such as that suggested by Anne Donnellan, to anything that Baron-Cohen has to offer.

usethebrainsgodgiveyou said...

Empathy makes us human. Autistics lack empathy. Therefore, Autistics are not human, so it doesn't matter how people treat them.

What is important is to get them to act like humans. When they act like humans, they will be treated like humans. What's so hard to understand, people?

sarasiobhan said...

The comments above have effectively captured the (serious) flaws in SBC's approach. What also jumped out at me was his statement; "As a scientist, my role is to summarise the empirical findings'. This strikes me as a remarkably poor understanding of the role of science. Surely he should be critically engaging, interpreting and challenging, rather than simply summarising. This may explain the lack of rigour in his research overall; a misplaced emphasis on poor tools that are not appropriate. What I really don't understand is why this work gets published (and publicised).

usethebrainsgodgiveyou said...

Forgive my bravado, but what your studies seem to lack is common sense. "Theory of Mind" on 4 year olds who have severe language disorders? SO severe, they can't tell you their name or the difference between yes or no? That was my mildly afflicted (genius or near IQ)son at age 4. Imagine kids who were really autistic. You can predict, but have you no curiosity as to why? The only hopeful sign is that you are beginning to ask for input from autistics, the real experts.

As to "zero empathy". Imagine you are a prey animal and you are expected to have "empathy" towards your predator. Temple Grandin feels she identifies with a prey animal, her primary emotion as a child was fear.(Fear and anxiety are endemic in the autistic population, as well as the realistic expectation that others are "out to get them". See "autism and bullying".) This is not a choice she made, this is the way she was made. Put yourself in another's shoes. It will do amazing things for both of you.

I hope you open your mind and heart one day. I can't fight fire (rationality) with fire (more rationality). I prefer to put water on fires to fight them.

M said...

there is, unfortunately, no overlap between the methods of science and the lived reality of experience.

people on the spectrum know one set of truths...truths gathered from within, through the act of living. scientists look at numbers, data...base conclusions on them. and if their conclusions are inaccurate, it is difficult to correct them...since the "correcting voice" is coming from the data itself, in this instance.

scientists hear individuals on the spectrum say, "I feel empathy"; but the scientists respond with, "sorry, my data says you do not."

people on the spectrum: they're the data, to a scientist. they're numbers, deprived of voice.

to a scientist, the data speaks, but not for itself. rather, scientists insist on speaking for the data (or rather over it), through analysis. scientists use analysis to give the data it's meaning...to force the meaning upon it.

it's a power move. a form of dominance. if scientists like simon were to listen to individuals on the spectrum, it would mean 1. they've abandoned their scientific method (i.e. power) and 2. they've given power to their data (i.e. individuals on the spectrum).

so, people on the spectrum say one thing. scientist say, "sorry, our data tells us otherwise."

it's a gulf that cannot be bridged. the scientific method is one of the most effect forms of power ever invented. it's effective, a well-constructed form of leverage...and people who use it are incabale of allowing for change.

they will always tell the data what it means. and when the data speaks for itself? the scientist will shug, dismiss the data as misguided...and retreat behind their method. they are more than happy to hide there...comfortable, impervious to human reality.

noisy data. that's what we need. data that doens't play the analysis game...data that can laugh at the research, at the simons of the world; that can shrug off the smug inaccuracies of science.

sasto65 said...

I don't see science as cruel, and I don't really see the author as heartless, only far to go. I see another kind of impairment. If I were a scientist, I'd be using every post here for data on more research (trying not to grin at the simpicity), but that's because I can fairly easily put myself,"in their shoes."
Common for autistic females to be "little philosophers," I'll stay in tune. If I had one gift for science, it would be to somehow make a researcher Austistic for a year. I'd give them time to adjust as they could. At the end of a year, I'd take them for a walk among NT's. If they did not fall "head over heels" in love and empathy for a world which they'd see had such disability as to not be able to love them back. If they didn't tremble at how deeply they felt empathy for these,if they weren't angered and saddened by injustice,if they didn't reach out to protect those who were hurt, I'd be very surprised.
I'd shudder to offer such a gift though, as returning to their NT state, they'd surely morn the loss of this very human capacity to love beyond what they know, beyond the self. Oh, I realize some NT's can beyond the words, beyond what they recieve but so few. Perhaps one day.
Fortunately, I don't think it would take a drug, only a fearlessly open heart. What an experiment that would be.

Secret Sunshine said...

OMG, Simon Baron-Cohen. There is a hypocrisy you are not admitting to, and maybe you still don’t realize it, but since it has been pointed out over and over again, I can only assume you are purposely ignoring it:

People with typical brains are only good at reading OTHER people with typical brains.

In FACT, NT parents of autistic children around the world use an offensive puzzle piece symbol to prove this point. NT doesn’t get autistic=Aw, my baby’s an enigma! Autistic doesn’t get NT=deficit. Lacking in Empathy. Degree of Evil.

REALLY?!?!?! You don’t see the hypocrisy?!?! If you really miss the hypocrisy, my point is made. You have simply failed to put yourself in the shoes of someone unlike yourself. I don’t even think it’s your fault. But by your own definition, you’re evil. So.

Xanthe Wyse said...

@M The scientific method is solid if it is used for the appropriate purpose eg on substances etc. It is not appropriate as SBC has used it in social 'science' to turn something subjective and highly variable (human experience) into a mathematical formula by tinkering with biased data. That's not science at all.

M said...

Wyse: "The scientific method is solid if it is used for the appropriate purpose"

Well put! I definitely agree. I just don't think there can be much genuine back and forth between the scientific method and a community of people engaged in the sharing of personal stories. A fact illustrated in the post...science guy says more than once, "I hear what you're saying, but the data indicates otherwise." Personal stories, anecdotal evidence, do not carry weight with someone looking solely at the research. By design, the scientific method is a hermetically sealed endeavor, so I question the value of dialogue with someone utilizing it. The scientific method is a self-generating tautology, hard to have a real conversation with it.

Not to knock science. After Hamlet and Moby Dick, it's one of my favorite stories.

Secret Sunshine said...

The problem is that no parts of his theories are falsifiable. He took a pretty subjective term, defined it arbitrarily, and then used a survey method with questions he decided subjectively that were relevant, and basically ONLY proved that those with ASD generally answer some questions differently than those without ASD generally do. It really amounts to a bunch of nothing. And it's just obtuse not to realize that NTs typically have the EXACT SAME COGNITIVE EMPATHY DEFICIT when in relation to those whose minds work differently than their own. 99% of the population thinks in about the same manner, and they fail to empathize with 1% of the ASD population. The only real difference is that one group is in a majority and one group is in a minority. I really absolutely question is intelligence, because he cannot seem to logically overcome his empathy deficit, even tho he's devoted a lifetime to the subject of empathy.

claire said...

I’ve only just come across this exchange with SBC re empathy/systemising etc so forgive me if I’ve missed some of the detailed comments.

I fear that, sometimes, scientific data collected around people with autism misses the point. There is no doubt that people with autism often fail to show empathy “in the moment” when involved in an interaction between themselves and another person(s). In other words they fail to take in everything that is relevant (context, speech, non-verbal communication, background knowledge etc) and fail to respond in a manner which would immediately convey “empathy”. However, this does not mean that a person with an ASC necessarily lacks empathy.

In fact, when you examine all the “evidence” – sensory problems/”mono-chanelling”/sensory overload/auditory processing issues etc – the only real conclusion that one can safely draw is that people with ASCs experience difficulties with information processing in everyday environments. Such a conclusion is borne out by further “evidence” that people with ASCs find it easier to “empathize” after the event, (ie they have had time to process all the relevant information), or when observing an event, (ie they are reducing the information processing load as they are not directly involved) or when they are told about event or watch a video recording etc, (ie they are not sensorily and emotionally overwhelmed in the moment).

In the same vein there are occasions when a person with autism responds to an interaction in a way that shows a lack of “empathy”, (eg is aggressive or argumentative), but, afterwards, is mortified by their own (unreasonable) reaction. Their “reflexive” reaction indicates poor impulse control, (ie a processing problem where the higher “thinking” parts of the brain are initially overridden by the fight/flight parts). It is not proof of problems with empathising.

Some of you will have seen the test where names of colours are listed. The words are printed in many different colours. The participant is asked to say each colour rather than each written word. Three lines into the test what is written and the colour used no longer tally. At this point the participant slows, stumbles and often stops. An observer does not conclude that the participant cannot read nor that he/she does not know his/her colours but recognises that processing has slowed - in this case because of conflicting information

So, whilst we might witness a “lack of empathy” in certain situations, we should not necessarily conclude that problems with empathy are key. After all, any function that requires a person with autism to operate in a busy environment/deal with multi-sensory stimulus and personal interactions at the same time is likely to be detrimentally impacted.

So why is the ability of people with autism to show their empathy adversely impacted by environmental conditions and difficulties with processing multi stimuli whilst simultaneously retrieving information/memories from the brain? There is value in studying empathy in autism if you do so from the perspective that people with autism are categorically empathetic, but that their inability to process and respond empathetically in certain situations reveals difficulties that lie at the heart of autism. Starting with why do people have problems with sensory processing? Why is non-verbal communication difficult? When you get to grips with these issues (see research by Ami Klin, Nancy Minshew and others) you begin to see the big picture.....

claire said...

I’ve only just come across this exchange with SBC re empathy/systemising etc so forgive me if I’ve missed some of the detailed comments.

I fear that, sometimes, scientific data collected around people with autism misses the point. There is no doubt that people with autism often fail to show empathy “in the moment” when involved in an interaction between themselves and another person(s). In other words they fail to take in everything that is relevant (context, speech, non-verbal communication, background knowledge etc) and fail to respond in a manner which would immediately convey “empathy”. However, this does not mean that a person with an ASC necessarily lacks empathy.

In fact, when you examine all the “evidence” – sensory problems/”mono-chanelling”/sensory overload/auditory processing issues etc – the only real conclusion that one can safely draw is that people with ASCs experience difficulties with information processing in everyday environments. Such a conclusion is borne out by further “evidence” that people with ASCs find it easier to “empathize” after the event, (ie they have had time to process all the relevant information), or when observing an event, (ie they are reducing the information processing load as they are not directly involved) or when they are told about event or watch a video recording etc, (ie they are not sensorily and emotionally overwhelmed in the moment).

In the same vein there are occasions when a person with autism responds to an interaction in a way that shows a lack of “empathy”, (eg is aggressive or argumentative), but, afterwards, is mortified by their own (unreasonable) reaction. Their “reflexive” reaction indicates poor impulse control, (ie a processing problem where the higher “thinking” parts of the brain are initially overridden by the fight/flight parts). It is not proof of problems with empathising.

Some of you will have seen the test where names of colours are listed. The words are printed in many different colours. The participant is asked to say each colour rather than each written word. Three lines into the test what is written and the colour used no longer tally. At this point the participant slows, stumbles and often stops. An observer does not conclude that the participant cannot read nor that he/she does not know his/her colours but recognises that processing has slowed - in this case because of conflicting information

So, whilst we might witness a “lack of empathy” in certain situations, we should not necessarily conclude that problems with empathy are key. After all, any function that requires a person with autism to operate in a busy environment/deal with multi-sensory stimulus and personal interactions at the same time is likely to be detrimentally impacted.

So why is the ability of people with autism to show their empathy adversely impacted by environmental conditions and difficulties with processing multi stimuli whilst simultaneously retrieving information/memories from the brain? There is value in studying empathy in autism if you do so from the perspective that people with autism are categorically empathetic, but that their inability to process and respond empathetically in certain situations reveals difficulties that lie at the heart of autism. Starting with why do people have problems with sensory processing? Why is non-verbal communication difficult? When you get to grips with these issues (see research by Ami Klin, Nancy Minshew and others) you begin to see the big picture.....

Johannes said...

Just want to make a point, I am diagnosed with Asperger's and the criteria are pretty much correct about me I think but the systemizing talk is simply not about me. On SQ test I score even lower than most people WITHOUT any type of autism. I think it might possibly be because of me also having ADHD and also on occasion some manic symptoms and thereby being disorganized in several ways. If there is a better answer to my low SQ as a more or less autistic person I'd be curious to hear it.

Paula said...

SBC seems to have all of the answers. Unfortunately, he isn't a member of the Autism Community and as such he can only report on our behavior anecdotally, scientific "evidence" or none. He reminds me of the outdated ethnographic studies my professors would give us to read when I was earning my degree in Anthropology. They were full of opinion based on the latest science with the culture under examination typified as infantile, unsophisticated, lacking in self-awareness and in need of help explaining itself. Ultimately, the discussion about empathy can only be seen as an attempt to portray the Autistic Community as lacking any merit. And yet, here we are.

paul bacon said...

I am a aspie who has spent a lifetime learning how to override my nature which is essentially HYPER empathic.

I APPEAR to be Hypo empathic superficially because this is my coping method for getting by in the NT world without being emotional all over the place and over stressing myself.... NTs can not cope with either my Hyper empathy or superficially cool hypo empathic exterior and categorise me as strange.

The EQ tests need to be rewritten to incorporate the theory of hyper empathic Aspergers,,, they are out of date with new theories and hundreds of personal stories from aspies. You want to listen to aspies personal stories then listen more carefully.

ASC ARE MORE SUBTLE THAN YOUR TESTS.

WHEN YOU CARRY A HAMMER EVERY PROBLEM BEGINS TO LOOK LIKE A NAIL.

Thanks for trying Dr Baron Cohen but don`t be so rigid in your thinking

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