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A few musings on Aspergers

I've got a number of friends who have Aspergers, including some of my closest friends. They're all generally lovely people, but every now and then they do something completely unexpected making you think "but.. but... what did you do that for?" and you suddenly see how their world view is subtly different. It's always fascinating when it happens.

I was therefore interested to read some of the links that beatnikbetty posted on the topic, particularly these two scenarios, as it seems an excellent example of this subtly different way of viewing situations.

When going through them, without hesitation I went for the standard non-aspergers answers as they seemed obvious. It was only reading through the brief discussion afterwards that I started to see why people might go for the other option.

One day I may go and learn some psychology, as it's always seemed a curious subject, but alas too many things are.

EDIT Given the comments it seems worth explaining my reasoning in choosing my responses:

The way I thought of it was that the second case was intentional as he had to make a concious decision as to whether to pay the extra dollar and get the drink or whether not to and not take the drink (or go for a smaller one). In the first scenario he pays the same amount and gets the same product, just gets an extra cup thrown in (which presumably he can just leave behind if he really doesn't want it). The cup doesn't have the same role in the decision process as the dollar.

That said it does seem a bit overly simplistic to diagnose Aspergers entirely on 2 questions like that. The fact that Aspergers people have a tendency to say one thing and non-Aspergers people have a tendency to say something different (as they are stating the research shows) doesn't necessarily mean that someone who comes up with one a particular answers falls into the corresponding group.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
28th Jul, 2009 12:10 (UTC)
I think I must have a somewhat different definition of the word "intention" here. He didn't intend to pay the extra dollar when he went into the shop; it wasn't a deliberate choice; he simply paid for what he wanted. There was no intention beforehand to spend an extra dollar on it, it was just what turned out to be necessary in order to achieve his aims, and there was no alternative offered in the conversation. How do you define it as being intentional?
28th Jul, 2009 13:16 (UTC)
Interesting point, the response crowsty links to below seems to be saying things along the same lines.

I've editted the post to explain my reasoning in coming to my answers.
28th Jul, 2009 14:14 (UTC)
My feeling as well. It wasn't intentional, but by wanting the largest cup it meant that both situations happened.
(Deleted comment)
28th Jul, 2009 13:33 (UTC)
I do, and I pretty much do that - just mimic appropriate responses.

This has lead to me expecting things to go like they do on TV sometimes.
28th Jul, 2009 12:48 (UTC)
The response linked to at the end of the article is worth reading. I went with the standard answers, but also then thought, "well, it depends what you actually mean by intend", which made my realise that the literal answer to the question was no in the second case in some sense.
28th Jul, 2009 13:23 (UTC)
It's an interesting response.

Just goes to show that although people with aspergers seem to be drawn to a different answer to those without, it doesn't actually tell you much about why that is the case.
28th Jul, 2009 15:38 (UTC)
I had both answers simultaneously - they are the same because he used almost exactly the same words in the first place, but they are not the same because accepting one kind of free cup instead of the other kind of free cup must require less consent than giving somebody a dollar.
28th Jul, 2009 15:43 (UTC)
I definitely don't have Asperger's - I'm very good at "reading" people emotionally - but at the same time, I tend to take what people say very literally, and am annoyed/distressed when those words to not match up with actions. In both the examples given, I would say that getting the cup and paying the extra dollar were both unintentional - they were entirely secondary to the stated object.

I also have the problem with the "How are you?" "I'm fine, how are you?" "Fine, thanks" automatic social noise exchange; it's taken me years to teach myself the correct responses, and even so I have to hesitate and remember them every time.
28th Jul, 2009 16:42 (UTC)
Heh. I managed to create arguements where both were intentional AND where neither were intentional. Not sure what that says about me, other than I tend to waffle a lot. LOL!
29th Jul, 2009 12:19 (UTC)
I went for the Aspergers answers and I've definitely not got it, not even a very mild form. I think I would, like others here, dispute their definition of "intention". In both scenarios he did what he did to get the largest drink and getting the cup or paying the extra dollar were consequences of him wanting the largest drink.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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