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Asperger's theory does about-face.(Too much Empathy)

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Asperger's theory does about-face.(Too much Empathy)

Postby Sarcastica » Thu May 21, 2009 12:26 am

Asperger's theory does about-face:
Rather than ignoring others, researchers think spectrum sufferers care too much.

A groundbreaking study suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger's do not lack empathy – rather, they feel others' emotions too intensely to cope.

This link will take you to the article:
http://www.healthzone.ca/health/article/633688

At first I thought, "Not another '#######4' research study, wasting those dollars again". After reading the article I believe there is great merit in their findings. I experience a 'Flight or fight' response when I encounter emotions from others. Fiction emotions from actors on the T.V., especially embarassment makes me flee the room. Rather then not processing emotions, I process them too intensely. (Makes sense) It never made common sense to me how many people with AS display altruistic, compassionate etc personalities and then you have Psychiatrists and other professional telling us we have 'No Emotions'.
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Postby shutin » Thu May 21, 2009 2:51 am

I freeze like a schizoid.
Nothing appropriate comes to mind.
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Postby gothic_mummy » Thu May 21, 2009 5:10 am

Really interesting Sarcastica. I know exactly what you mean about the embarrassing parts on TV. I literally curl up and cringe for them.

There's one part of Lord Of The Rings, The Two Towers I just can't watch. It's the part where Faramir has captured Gollum and he's curled up in a little ball. There's also the part where Smeagol is talking to the Gollum half of himself, so devastated that his master let him down. It shreds me and even now I'm thinking of that sad song at the end of the film, the one sang from Gollum's perspective. I don't think there are words :cry:
God created the world in 7 days.... a foolish brag I feel!
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Postby Chucky » Thu May 21, 2009 8:30 pm

Thank you for unearthing this, because I feel that it's the missing link between me and Asperger's Syndrome. I mean, I definately DO feel other peoples' emotions. Why else do I care so much about everyone here on this website? I think that I've managed to cope with how I handle them (the emotions) though. I mean, I am able to distance myself from it all, but i still care.

I know that - deep down - you guys care about others too. I mean, if I died tomorrow, would'nt you care?

Kevin
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Postby shutin » Thu May 21, 2009 10:16 pm

Chucky wrote:Thank you for unearthing this, because I feel that it's the missing link between me and Asperger's Syndrome. I mean, I definately DO feel other peoples' emotions. Why else do I care so much about everyone here on this website? I think that I've managed to cope with how I handle them (the emotions) though. I mean, I am able to distance myself from it all, but i still care.

I know that - deep down - you guys care about others too. I mean, if I died tomorrow, would'nt you care?

Kevin

Yes Kevin, I wouldn't want that to happen :)

I have trouble responding, but I do care about others, and I have felt empathy. I get scared I'll make things worse sometimes by responding though.
Nothing appropriate comes to mind.
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Postby Sarcastica » Fri May 22, 2009 1:40 am

Chucky wrote:Thank you for unearthing this, because I feel that it's the missing link between me and Asperger's Syndrome. I mean, I definately DO feel other peoples' emotions. Why else do I care so much about everyone here on this website? I think that I've managed to cope with how I handle them (the emotions) though. I mean, I am able to distance myself from it all, but i still care.

I know that - deep down - you guys care about others too. I mean, if I died tomorrow, would'nt you care?

Kevin


I'm pleased the research findings give some clarity Kevin. Yes, we would miss you your presence if you died tomorrow. Perceiving emotions displayed by others can create great fear and confusion for me. I have them, but knowing when to let them out, appropriate timing, which one is more suitable and at times they are too intense.

I definitely lack 'Theory of Mind', I see the world as I am, not as it really is!! When people do not act or present as I would it surprises and confuses me to the max.
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Postby shock_the_monkey » Fri May 22, 2009 1:44 am

before i came across AS i read a couple of other books that seemed to be relevant to me: 'shyness' by philip zimbardo and 'the highly sensitive person' by elaine aron. these might be of interest to others.
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Postby Vayne » Fri May 22, 2009 1:54 am

I definately relate with the embarrassment thing. When there's something awkward on tv, like for instance, an interview on Jonathan Ross's chat show that's going slightly south, I find it so differcult to watch, I can't stay still, it's strange.

I definately feel empathy, but a lot of times I don't straight away think, what are other people feeling right now, it's only when I really sit down and think about it, and think about other peoples perspectives that I can empathise.

And fear. Yes. The kind of fear I've experienced over things most people wouldn't bat an eyelid over, it's so intense, and extreme, far, far more than the situation calls for.

Interesting find.
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Postby bigbob112 » Fri May 22, 2009 5:36 am

I have always wandered about the general opinion that aspergers means a lack of all empathy. I never lacked empathy, perhaps understanding, but not empathy.
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Postby jmjelde » Fri May 22, 2009 6:35 am

Don't know enough about the study to agree or disagree. Funny that everyone here seems to agree with the idea that the empathy is there. I'm definitely okay with letting people deal with their own pain, and causing it if I think it's what they need. But it's not that I don't care, it's that it's not helpful.

I am not solid with the idea that I don't understand people. I don't get first impressions. I can get a physical idea as to a new person but definitely no idea of personality. I have to think about it too. All I know is that once I've gotten around to making a judgement, I can predict their behavior. But it's a cognative process, not an immediate instinctual one. A huge part of me wants to say that the first impression idea has a lot more to do with the person doing the judging ther than the person being judged.

A friend of mine keeps asking what I first thought of her. I remember very clearly thinking that oh, she's engaged (I knew her fiance already but didn't know he was a fiance) and that she's black and built like me and that maybe she would like to play cards . She then asks what that means. I tell her it means that I didn't know Naaman was engaged and was surprised by that and that her body expresses more menalin than mine does and that we were looking for someone who would like to play cards to make four. Then she asks what that means, I go back to tell her the same thing. Then she asks but what kind of person did you think I was and I repeat myself again. We'll do this for a while, then she tells me I'm weird.

End of story.
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