I'm mostly normal!

People might read this definition of Asperger's Syndrome and think, "Gee, that Miyyears fellow meets two of the three criteria, maybe that's his problem".

Asperger's, like too many other mental illnesses, is in effect an almost whimsical diagnosis of exclusion: If someone is really smart, arrogant beyond measure, and tends to be an asshole or otherwise impossible to converse with in a normal way, then he must have a form of autism.

I'll have you know, though, that I took the test and scored a 24, an "average math contest winner." You need a 32 to suggest Asperger's, and a 15 is the average. So there. I don't have Asperger's, I'm just cruel and insensitive.

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I just took the test and got a 32! Now I'm going to be worrying about that for at least, er, thirty seconds or so. I notice it said the "average male scientist" would get a 19, so at least I'm in some sense above average :)

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

It's not a goof. My son has AS, and happy me scored a 34. My wife scored a 4. Opposites attract.

14 - a male or female biologist, whatever that means?!!

Ha! I beat you PZ! Where do I go to get my honorary Hideous Arse Candle award?

As the father of a 12 yr old boy with Asperger's I cringe when I here the syndrome characterized as a mental illness. It is more accurately described as a neurobiological disorder. That may sound like a quibble to some but I also had a father who was mentally ill. I can assure anyone who might care to know that the two conditions are not comparable. As for me? Well I read this blog.

By Fernando Magyar (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

As a male physics student, I was quite amused to get "15: Average woman, average male, or female biologist".

Hmm 24...more geeky than the average computer scientist.
Sigh. no wonder my wife looks at me like that sometimes.

Me? A 36?

Admittedly I love numbers (being a gEEk), especially phone #s and license plates, and chit-chat is often a struggle along with keeping a conversation going, but I thought that was just exhaustion from being a single Dad of a 13 year old brainiac.

31 - should I switch from biology to math contests?

PZ, I'm beginning to think you're partly British, with your self-deprecating sense of humor and all. I watched your interview on BloggingHeads TV. Just admit it. You're one of the intelligent nice guys who just wishes he was a rogue.

It's not like you're in the street running old ladies off the road on their way to church. It's tempting sometimes, but if granny had a flat tire, you're the type of guy that would stop to help, even if she tried to convert you in the process. You're like an atheist Han Solo.

[Homer]
Mmmmmm, Assburger...
[/Homer]

Oh, man, I got a 41. That's like, way above average math contest winner. And like, way above 32, which is apparently an "extreme score." I suck.

Joking aside, AS is pretty tough for those with it. They have all sorts of difficulty understanding context and idioms.

My son has so many hidden rules, it's amazing he is as successful as he is - that's the really smart part. So far, the only real accommodations are education for his teachers, and the enormous work he has put in. It's really difficult for AS kids to deal with all those durned neurotypicals. They just can't get cliques, they don't get the interpersonal dynamics, they sound rude and stand-offish.

On the big plus side, at 14, he knows more about his inner workings than I ever thought anyone could.

As a person who really does have aspergers, I can say that the a real aspie condition and diagnosis is no joke.

The thing about aspie symptoms is that pretty much every person exhibits these traits to some degree. Real aspies, however, do these things to the extreme; to an obsessive amount; to the point where it causes real problems in their daily functioning and daily interactions with others.

For example, take OCD (some aspies get misdiagnosed with OCD): a normal person may like the number "4", and may count to it from time to time, but an OCD person will do it thousands of times a day and create instantiations of the "4" number/pattern with many objects and tasks in their daily schedule.

A normal person might like to be really clean, but an OCD person will go through 5 bars of soap every time they take a piss.

Now lets look at aspies. A normal person might talk a lot, or perhaps talk too loud at times. But an aspie will would talk A LOTTTTTT and talk in very formalized and verbose sytles. The aspie would use a shouting volume even in a small enclosed quiet place. An aspie will rattle on for over an hour about their favorite hobby or interest, looooooonggg after the normal people have tuned him out.

Normal people might be really keen on baseball, or airplanes. But the aspie will recite from memory the batting average of some obscure player during his rookie year 50 years ago. The aspie will recite from memory the model #s of the pratt and whitney engines popularly installed on a given airframe, and even know the thrust ratings or the # of stator blades (and will get really annoyed if you confuse stator blades with fan blades!)

The symptoms go on and on, and very in both their particulars and intensity. Some aspies may talk too loud, some might talk too quiet. There is a saying among those familiar with autism spectrum disorders, and it goes like this: "If youve met one autie, then youve met one autie!"

When I was a kid, I was misdiagnosed with ADHD, which was a common misdiagnosis at the time (that was in the 1980s), because Asperger Syndrome wasnt even in the DSM until 1994! We know very little about the condition, and lots of people are just now discovering that they have it, often only AFTER their kid is found to have it. Then it hits them in a flash: "No wonder I felt so different than everybody else!"

As a child I had a general awareness that I was quite different, and that I was always finding myself in situations that my peers typically werent being found in. I was constantly being reprimanded for bad and disruptive behavior, while simultaneously being the golden child in the GATE program. I was aceing proficiency tests but failing to do my regular assignments. I had excessive amounts of energy, far more so than even the hyper little rugrats running amok on the schoolgrounds. I was oscracized from the social cliques but strangely respected by the same kids that ostracized me. I totally didnt fit in, not with any of the varying degrees of cliques.

I went to get analyzed at all kinds of places by all kinds of speicalists to figure out why I was different and what could be done about it. Obviously, I was different. The educators, administrators, and family members all could see it. Even my little child brain was vaguely aware of the fact that I didnt fit in, and also that I was simultanously far ahead of, and behind, the development of my peers.

Anyway, my point is that lots of people do the things that Aspies do, but its not WHAT aspies do so much as the level or degree to which they do it (or dont do it) that makes them an aspie.

@ MarcusA:
I think Han might be an atheist anyway. He does say 'hokey religion' a few times . . .

Judging by the tone of that post you linked to, I would not be the slightest bit surprised if it turned out to have been plagiarized from SomethingAwful.com. More seriously, the poster's statements about the origin of the syndrome's name and its discoverer are materially false, as I pointed out in this comment.

For insurance reasons I haven't been to see a psychiatrist for anything other than rubber-stamping a medicine refill in quite a few years, and the psychiatrists I saw as a child summarily refused to even consider the possibility. However, the articles I've read on Asperger's strongly match many of the specific symptoms (not just the general tone of "smart and socially awkward"), a point on which I'll be happy to expand if needed, and my (diagnosed autistic) daughter's psychiatrist, in exploring her family history, strongly agreed that my symptoms match. Consequently, I'm not amused by the sneering and cavalier tone in which the condition is usually discussed. :/

I got a 25. I beat PZ!

Of course, it's not about winning and losing.

I should go write that down 100 times.

An introverted number admirer like myself gets a score of 32 (I guess I should drop those biology and history for secondary education majors). I CAN do the social thing, I just rather curl up with a good book on population genetics. There are places where desire is not separated out from ability. Sloppy questions.

By Ragnor144 (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

30. So close!

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

andy-- As a male physics student, I was quite amused to get "15: Average woman, average male, or female biologist".

Its okay, the universe is still balanced: Im a female biologist and I got "Average Male or Female Physicist".

:P

Funny, I got a 13, slightly below average. I don't plan on switching out of physics for this.

I scored a 35.

Is it better or worse that I don't care about what the test says? I don think that everyone enjoys participating in the same kinds of activities. If everyone was the same I think that would just make for a more boring world.

You could make up a disease for people who don't want to go skydiving. I should hardly think that everyone in the world not being into skydiving would be surprising. Diagnosing, much less treating, such people with a "mental illness" seems a bit farcical to me.

17- Average female scientist. Imagine my girlfriend's surprise.

Todd, it really isn't made up, and it isn't funny ha ha. Read upthread, Aaron @ #17 explains quite well. It's a struggle to maneuver the world of 'normal' folks. I expect that my son will continue to be in a flight-or-fight mode during all his classes, as he always has been. It's so stressful it's hard to fathom.

Little old English Major me got a 24. I guess I just didn't feel creative enough being a math whiz...

Sweet, I'm safe. I only scored 31!

18 - Average man. Pretty good for someone who often scores as a "perfect introvert" on the Myers-Briggs personality test.

As the father of a 12 yr old boy with Asperger's I cringe when I here the syndrome characterized as a mental illness. It is more accurately described as a neurobiological disorder.

It is most accurately described as a collection of behaviors, propensities, and attitudes. 'Neurobiological disorder' pushes far beyond the boundaries of the existing evidence indicates.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

You could make up a disease for people who don't want to go skydiving. I should hardly think that everyone in the world not being into skydiving would be surprising. Diagnosing, much less treating, such people with a "mental illness" seems a bit farcical to me.

Now, imagine that there are a number of people who very much want to go skydiving, but for whatever reason their brains are configured in such a way that they usually cannot find the cord to open their chutes, (I'm guessing they're probably automatic, but let's go with the analogy). This is a bit closer to asperger's, but still a poor analogy. :/

"It is most accurately described as a collection of behaviors, propensities, and attitudes. 'Neurobiological disorder' pushes far beyond the boundaries of the existing evidence indicates."

Gee, couldn't you also say that about Major Depression? Just buck up?
/eyeroll

Caledonian, would you mind clarifying whether you're actually saying that Asperger's probably lacks a physical or genetic basis, and either way, backing up that claim?

What's the difference between
15Average woman, and average male or female biologist
and
17Average female scientist?
Aren't biologists scientists? Oh, and I got a 16. Not bad for a biology chick with a math fetish. I see the patterns everywhere but I'm not socially inept, maybe that's it?

18 - Average man.

Me too, Moses--won't Mr. Raven be surprised!

Actually, probably not so much, since he's always saying I have the sense of humor of a 13-year-old boy. So I guess that actually makes me *more* mature--woo-hoo!

28. My utter inability to memorize phone numbers saves me from getting tossed in the loony bin!

Hey PZ, hope you're not caught up in that Bridge collapse on I-35! Man, that's insane.

Hmmm...a 14 and male. I guess I have to become gay. That's what I get for voting Democratic all these years....

My 32 year old son has Asperger's. He was just diagnosed last year when he was in the army. That's right, the Army took a man with Asperger's not once but twice. Way to win a war, George. We noticed changes in his behavior when he was two. He is now looking for some counseling. Some of his rules were actually beneficial to us. Imagine any other two year old putting himself to bed every night. He would get up and go to his bedroom, put on his pajamas and then come out to say goodnight earlier than we had set for his bedtime. Some were not so good. He would get upset in the car if we went somewhere by a different route. We started doing that on purpose just to get him used to changes. He once waited at his school bus stop for three hours when he was four. He was told to get on the #24 bus. That day the bus came, with the same number and driver but a different type of bus. It wasn't until the school called to see why he wasn't there that we found him. He wasn't upset or confused. He was just waiting for the right bus to come along. He also has a great memory. We went to see the first Star Wars movie at a drive in. He stood with his back to the screen, seemingly uninterested, but the next day he started reciting huge blocks of dialog from the movie. He still has a fondness for Star Wars.

My fave question: "Other people frequently tell me that what I've said is impolite, even though I think it is polite."

Only when I'm talking about religion!

But then, "I don't agree with you," "I think you're mistaken," or "I don't think you've proved your point" are considered impolite statements when talking about religion.

And for the record, I got a 13. Much lower than I'd expected.

23: But I had to get some help from my wife for some of the questions and I think she deliberately picked the answers which she thought would make me look weird. OK, so maybe I pointed out in her 55th birthday card that 5 cubed + 5 cubed = 250, and that 2 cubed + 5 cubed + zero cubed = 133, and that 1 cubed + 3 cubed + 3 cubed = 55. But that's interesting, not weird.

It is not easy being married to a goddess.

By hephaistos (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

38, by the way.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

My score on the test was 7.

My 7 year old was just diagnosed with Asperger's a month or so ago. (I got a 20 on that online test, spouse got a 24.) There is quite a lot of variability to the symptoms themselves and the severity of them; for instance, a lot of the online questions look like they score for social avoidance, but that isn't the only way to manifest the problem. My child is overly gregarious, entirely the opposite, but it's the same root of not understanding social cues and mores. For example, he's very apt to try to kiss someone he's known for 20 minutes and then not "get" why they're not entirely thrilled with that.

And Cal, how much research have you done on Asperger's? Because there are a whole suite of neurobiological issues usually associated with Asperger's along with the basic diagnosis. Sensory integration dysfunction, Tourettes, ADD, etc., etc. I have occasionally agreed with you on things (much to my surprise), but here you seem to be once again pontificating on something you know nothing about.

And Cal, how much research have you done on Asperger's? Because there are a whole suite of neurobiological issues usually associated with Asperger's along with the basic diagnosis.

So? The issue wasn't whether there were frequently-associated neurological problems, but whether Asperger's can be described as a neurobiological problem.

I have occasionally agreed with you on things

I find that disturbing. I suppose, though, that even blind squirrels occasionally find a walnut.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

Cal,

Try reading a few of these:

http://libraries.uta.edu/helen/Asperger.pdf

I think you may find a few references to Neurobiology and Disorders in there somewhere. But hey, I'm no expert, just the dad of a kid whose neurologist used those terms, so what do I know.

By Fernando Magyar (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

38. It's just the complete and utter lack of any sort of social ability and the uncanny ability to remember phone numbers and birthdays.

Christ on a stick. Here, the DSM-IV diagnosis, along with a few other previous sets of criteria. Note where the segment from the DSM-IV says "Various nonspecific neurological symptoms or signs may be noted." Also "Motor delays or motor clumsiness may be noted in the preschool period.", which is more indicative of a neurobiological problem than a behavioral problem. Unless, that is, you think that losing the ability to use scissors well is a behavioral trait? I'm sure that my child's occupational and physical therapists will be happy to know that they can pawn off his treatment onto the school counselor instead. More detailed explanation of how the diagnosis is made here.

Lurker here.

I took a test like this a few weeks ago and scored 24. Today I got 34. Interesting.

I did a bit of (admittedly not very thorough) research and don't think I actually have Asperger's. I'm just an extremely shy, introverted, weirdo geek with social anxiety disorder (among other mood-related issues).

By FellBeast (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

Note where the segment from the DSM-IV says "Various nonspecific neurological symptoms or signs may be noted."

Yes?

By Caledonian (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

Caledonian, would you mind explaining exactly what working definition of a "neurobiological disorder" you are using here and how, exactly, the items that have been offered as evidence that Asperger's belongs in this category do not qualify?

I score 8... so I'm practically anti-asbergers

but I *need* to focus on detail (I'm a consultant and details cost money, dammit)

I also *need* to socialize, but *love* to get private time

Maybe this is all learned, because I was a really good Computer Scientist (my prof's were pissed at me when I dropped out...)

And I love trivia! (my family refused to let me play trivial pursuit - except on their team!)

It is most accurately described as a collection of behaviors, propensities, and attitudes.

This initial assertion is incorrect. Look at how it's actually diagnosed.

Score: 32-50 (?) Not sure what that meant but, I am not surprised I scored high since I do have a diagnosis of Asperger's Indeed, I have to take psych meds to deal with the depression, anxiety and panic response issues that are part and parcel to AS.

As for the comments from #17, I concur completely. He pretty much told my story as well. I went and got tested and was diagnosed after it my son was diagnosed with AS. It is not fun. It is a bitch to live with and continues to this day to cause me tremendous problems and frustrations with employment, relationships and the like.

I also agree, Autism (in all its forms) is definitely better thought of as a neurological disorder - a mis-wiring of the brain if you will - than it is as a mental illness.

I scored a 29. I probably would have been right up there in the Asperger's group, except that I'm hopeless with numbers in remembering or interest.
I actually saw a psychologist for a consultation because I was "accused" of having Asperger's. She said that I didn't, but that some of my introverted tendencies were exaggerated as a response to stress. I did some counselling to deal with this stuff, which worked very well, and even my "accuser" has changed her mind.

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

Carlie, thanks for the link. I had forgotten the no-eye-contact bit. My son has come so far. We get such a thrill that he will make eye contact with a waiter/waitress and state his order politely. It's only been years...

I'd probably be more social and chit-chatty if the things that most people yap about were interesting. But, you know, sports, church, weather, sitcoms, so blech.

10. Male physics professor. It was all those questions about organization and remembering numbers that led to this pitiful score. Perhaps what causes my nerdy and opinionated personality will get a name someday. However, I will never know as I *very strongly* thought that the questionnaire was boring.

By nerd instinct (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

Hmm. 24. Average math contest winner.
Back in high school, I actually was a math contest winner. Now I'm a poet. Doesn't have to make sense.

41. Not really a surprise: I was diagnosed as autistic+ADHD back in the late 60's/early 70's (more than 20 years before Asperger's became an officially recognized diagnosis).

By Benjamin Franz (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

39. Thirty-nine? Having done research into the topic (regarding my son ... probably ADHD + other comorbidities, but marginally possible Aspie and at minimum some of his special-ed classmates definitely are so I need to know how to interact with them) I don't think I went out of my way to inflate my score. Perhaps I got distracted and answered questions backwards -- something I habitually read past words like "don't". So I started fresh and for borderline answers I deliberately chose the answer that I though would lower my score... And I got a 37. Hmmm. Geek, check. Physicist, check. Aspie? That might explain a bit of my history. But I still think it's too high. I don't like number details (phone #'s, patterns, etc ... dsylexia gets in the way here) and I don't really like collecting stuff (except messy junk accumulates) as a hobby.

Yi - I scored 24, math geek territory. But I'm an English major who passed calculus with a D, probably due to the charity of an instructor who didn't want to see me in class for a third time.

45. Should I call 911?

45. Should I call 911?

No, because you'll become too engrossed in hitting the number '7' over and over again to do so.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

What's the difference between
15 Average woman, and average male or female biologist
and
17 Average female scientist?
Aren't biologists scientists?

Yes, but are biologists "average scientists"? Chihuahuas are dogs, yet their average height is probably below average dog height. Statistical distributions in a subpopulation are not necessarily representative of the larger population, which is precisely why scientists make efforts to choose representative samples.
And Azkyroth, I think the joke you link is a bit unclear, too. 41 here, but I'm still right about the joke. The questions seemed to be getting a bit repetitious. As pointed out, they were rather general and abstract, and the available responses aren't finely detailed. I'm not sure it really captures my variations from "I can handle this" through "This is somewhat disturbing" to "What? Greeting a stranger? Time to run for it!"
Considering this, anyone who's disappointed at being higher or lower or otherwise feels that the test is trying to apply an inappropriate label can take comfort in the thought that I doubt it's a bang-on diagnostic tool. If you can do what you want to do, great! If you're a particularly social person complaining that it's pegging you as a nonscientist or another specialty, so what? This isn't a test for technical competence and, if you're actually comfortable conversing with others at your department, I'll be too busy envying that capability than worrying about what some test says.
What's with the liking numbers, anyway? I'm a mathematician (or, perhaps more accurately, I'm not a mathematician but I play one at school), but I don't like numbers. Now, sure, when you see numbers around you might do a little mental arithmetic or factoring out of habit. You do need to respect primes, powers (especially of 2), squares, and such. But actually to like numbers? And I hear some folks go on about pi, even naming a movie after it. I don't think it's much fun at all. Now, sure, it's important in trigonometry and it's a big part in one of the wackiest formulae ever, but it's still not much fun as a number.
Nonetheless, I don't particularly mind, unless someone starts presenting numerology to me to make me flip my lid. It's to a mathematician as creationism is to a biologist. There's liking numbers and then there's treating them in cruel and obscene ways.

45. I definitely have it. My junior high teacher friend tells me I'm practically the syndrome incarnate.

I discovered that the social anxiety is a bit more manageable (not very much, but a bit) if I just stop caring about such meaningless things as the emotional responses of others and focus on the facts. It doesn't matter to me if I'm a jerk, so long as I'm right. People are so damned jittery and irrational that I wouldn't know if they were happy or about to stick a knife in me most of the time anyway. No sense fretting over it. People who get to know me usually end up telling me that I'm very gentle. People are crazy.

That's probably extremely dysfunctional, but then again I did just score a 45. :)

Should have included - memorization ability has a lot to do with (a) pre-Vatican II Catholic school education. Memorize the Baltimore II when you're 8 and you've trained your brain for life. And a part-time job as a PBX operator for a large hospital when I was in college. You get really good at remembering phone numbers, page ID numbers, area codes, etc.

When I see license plates, I attempt to makes words out of them... For instance, earlier today I saw "90S 8N3"... The part that stood out to me was the "--S 8N-" part. S-eight-n. Say it now. I want that license plate.

Oh, and I scored a 29 on the test.

42? I don't believe it. I've always thought of Richard Stallman as the exemplar of an Asperger's Syndrome sufferer, and I'm nothing like him. Well, I'm not as extreme as him anyway. I don't think so, anyway; of course I suppose an inability to recognize the characteristics in one's own behaviour profile might be expected...

Aw shit.

20 ... I am practically dripping with normality, at least among scientists and computer geeks.

By Desert Donkey (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

I scored a 20. "Average male scientist"

32. No wonder I have so many issues dealing with folks....

#57 Jeff Knapp, take another look. The actual score is included in the short paragraph immediately above the box with the score rankings.

29. 29!

Yes, I am indeed an aspie-type. Let's straight-A's through 12 years of public school, never even tried, read the textbook in the first week and relied on my memory after that. School was 12 years of hell, all hell.

Here's how it began: in Grade 2 I was the smallest kid in my class,

PLUS being a brain,

PLUS having a noticeable facial deformity (droopy eyelid--in fact, I looked retarded),

PLUS being blind in one eye, I had no depth perception so I totally sucked at anything requiring physical coordination,

PLUS being a preacher's kid (in the wrong part of town -- my father was dedicated to helping the less fortunate, so I went to a school where Grade 3's pulled knives on their teachers),

PLUS having an effete English accent (my parents had emigrated to Canada, and even though I had been born in Canada, I had no friends, so I spoke like them).

So you can imagine what happened to me, before, during, and after class. And I wasn't allowed to get in trouble so I couldn't tell my parents. It was in Grade 2 I first noticed I couldn't see the blackboard. I knew my eyesight was bad, but there was NO WAY I was going to get glasses and have an even larger target painted on me. So what could I do? I memorized the eye chart, and once a year when the nurse called us in to check our health, I'd call out the numbers from memory. This seemed completely reasonable to me. For the next four years I got straight A's simply by memorizing everything the teacher said in lectures, while my eyesight got steadily worse.

Did my parents notice? No, because I didn't complain. I was finally caught when my parents saw me watching "Daktari" from six inches away, out of the inner corner of my right (not-blind) eye. So they dragged me to an eye doctor who put the lens-contraction against my head and I was forced to answer honestly. The doctor called my parents in and proceeded to berate them for having allowed my eyesight to deteriorate to this shocking extent. Of course this petrified me, because I was certain that I was going to be severely disciplined once my parents got me alone in the car.

But they didn't say thing. Bad enough that the syndrome made it difficult for me to read people emotionally, but my parents' strange way of interacting with us gave me no reasonable examples to model emotional understanding.

When I graduated in Grade 12, I was basically feral, an utter weirdo. By my late thirties I managed to master enough social interaction that I could pass in structured situations, like work. But I tell ya, I am so happy being smart. Understanding and being awed by the wonder and complexity and the incredible surprises of the natural world has given a lot to my life.

Hmm. I type like I talk. I'd better shut up now.

28.

I recognize myself in a lot of the comments. My son is ADHD. My nephew has been diagnosed AS. Nut can't fall too far from the tree, I suppose. On the other hand, there are a lot more people that there are labels, and none of these labels tell us what sort of person we are, or how any of us would respond to this or that situation. Now that I've taught for a few years, I tend not to worry about the labels unless the kid shows a propensity for '5150'---I tend to say things like, "Scott is goofy today," rather than "Scott's ADHD, that's why he's goofy."

I got a 34. I would have got 45+ as a kid, though. I majored in psychology to understand people, and joined a fraternity at an engineering school, so I could interact with somewhat normal, somewhat aspie people. While this test is ok, if you have asperger's syndrom, once you read a good description about it, you know.

Ah well, at least I'm good with computers, and I married a woman who basically takes care of my social life for me.

29, a higher number than I expected. I was a sociable kid, with no problems that I recall with either people, or with a range of school subjects, or extra-curricular activities. No obsessions or anything like that. In fact, I feel that I have become more socially incompetent and more detail-oriented as I have got older, not less. On one hand I wonder whether this is the OCD, depression and other nasty stuff in the family history catching up with me. On the other, my academic career steers me toward greater solitude, exactness, and a detached view of human behavior. A neat convergence of propensities with learned behaviors perhaps?

So PZ, how do you score on OCD tests?

Hairhead, I did the same thing with eye tests. I couldn't see, but they always used the same charts, and I hated getting anything wrong, so I had 20/20 vision from grade school up until college. Then I actually tried to read the numbers, found out I had terrible vision, and couldn't see a damn thing at night.

43

Matches other on line 'tests' I've taken.

I would describe myself as 'hermit'.

Have been asked at various times in life: "Why don't you look me in the eyes?"

Because I don't want to!

Retired and live with a cat.

my younger brother was diagnosed with aspergers.

personally, i think it's a sham. or at least way over-diagnosed. one of many fake-problems little boys get diagnosed with because they don't like school.

"school" being a social situation, not an educational one.

By arachnophilia (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

"Yes, I am indeed an aspie-type. Let's straight-A's through 12 years of public school, never even tried, read the textbook in the first week and relied on my memory after that."

That sounds like me. I used to get very aggravated with review assignments. What's wrong with people that they need to do this all again? Most oif the time, I didn't even bother reading the book. Between what I could remember from lectures (I love lectures; what's wrong with people that they don't?) and what could be trivially reasoned out from the material already provided and the structure of the question, academics were easy. I only got into trouble when I couldn't be bothered to take assignments seriously. I'm fortunate to have made it through school just as the fad for replacing written work with arts & crafts was emerging. I missed most of it.

wow, so biologists are LESS geeky according to this test than other scientists? and men are MORE geeky than women?

Hmmm, much to my surprise, I'm sorta off the scale, in the unlabled lower range: I am a 12.

My brother has been diagnosed with NVLD - Non-verbal learning disorder. It's neurological. He was about 12 or 13 before anyone figured it out, and that was the psychologist who performed a neuropsych eval on him.

Suddenly it all fell into place. His academic and social life up to that point suddenly made a lot more sense. We also learned that it's not difficult to mistake NVLD for ADD (in its milder forms) or Asperger's (in its more severe forms).

I think I understand Cal's resistance to the tendency to characterize mental disorders as illnesses. I believe the very imprecision of psychology troubles him, and I sympathize. There is much imprecision in psych (in psychpharm, in the diagnostic process, and so on) and we have touched on this in other threads. Still, Caledonian, I don't see that as a justification for questioning the neurological basis of axis I disorders that are known to be neurological or of axis I and II disorders which manifest in significantly greater rates amongst the brain-injured than in the general population. (Surely you wouldn't argue that the changes in brain function which occur following a lobotomy could be described as a software problem - would you?) And I wonder where you get some of your information, for some of it seems woefully out of date. (For example, the claim that lithium was the only pharmacological treatment for BPD.)

The illness/disorder topic does interest me, but I worry about getting all hung up on definitions. In practice, the words are nearly synonymous, yet it's interesting to note that the term "mental illness" does not appear in the DSM-IV. It's a colloquialism. I had this discussion with one of my mother's former colleagues, a masters-level clinician with nearly 20 years in the field, and she was rather dismissive of the idea that there was any significant difference between "illness" and "disorder" on the level we were discussing it. She considered it to be little more than a pointless exercise in semantic wanking. What can I tell ya. (You may be pleased to know that I defended your intentions - lol).

I don't believe that you were bringing up the point for no reason other than having something to knock around here on the board. So if you wanna take another stab at it...

personally, i think it's a sham. or at least way over-diagnosed.

Yeah but not by mental health professionals but people online themselves, as some sort of outside excuse for being social lepers.

Honestly it's so widespread now that people actually claiming it are met with scorn. At least they can all hoard to wikipedia to edit the 20-odd pages exclusively created for autism / asperger disorders, civil rights movement and neurotypicals.

39, but my cat got 43!

By Christian Burnham (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

I'm going to take a stab at something, while I'm at it, which is to address Caledonian's opinions about Asperger's.

AS is a syndrome, one that lacks a known root cause. I don't think we can simply and definitively say that AS "is" a neurological disorder. It is a collection of clinically identifiable features, each of which in turn implies one or more underlying causes. Some of the diagnostic criteria refer to conditions or disorders that are known to be neurologically-based. I can't make a determination at this time as to whether or not a correct diagnosis of AS could be made in the absense of all those underlying neurological conditions, but it may be possible to do so. I'm not sure, and I don't have the energy to find out at the moment.

Regardless, my preliminary (and inexpert) conclusion is that referring to AS as a neurological condition is correct only to the extent that it is known to be true for the specific case being described, but that given the apparently high incidence of non-verbal communication deficits in cases of AS, a majority of cases do have some neurological basis.

Another assburger here. I took the test before reading through the comments and figured I was screwed for sure with a score of 35. After reading through the comment thread and seeing how many other people scored in the 30s--in particular 35--well, maybe that's just normal for those of us that hang out at scienceblogs.

Um... erk. I'm a 31.

Does this give me licence to go on and on and on and on and on and on about my interests?

Am I a mathematician yet?

By Triumphal_Thusnelda (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

37. An "extreme" score, but I was tested when I was 7 and apparently I'm borderline non-autistic.

38.

Not unexpected.

I took the test twice: 35 the first time, 38 the second, when I was being a tad more honest. (Hey, who did I think I was fooling?)

In the comments here, I keep reading bits of my life. I recognize my Mom here, too.

Of course, back when I was growing up, there was no such thing as Aspberger's; I was just "shy" and "a bookworm" and "awkward" and "introverted" and "a brain". None of which were considered good things to be.

But I always took all the prizes for Bible memorization. [begin sarcasm] That's a consolation. [end sarcasm]

Okay, now I'm starting to feel weird that I DIDN'T memorise any eye charts. It didn't occur to me, I just answered the questions... and have had glasses since about age 10.

I think PZ should run a myopia poll, the results will doubtless be distressingly skewed from the norm.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

I've read about Asperger's because some people told me my son was showing signs of it. The more I read about it, the more I kept wondering "Is this really a disorder? Or just some personality traits that tend to go together?" and kept thinking "If anybody has this, it's my dad..."

Then (as is typical when reading medical literature) I started wondering if I didn't have it myself. This test put an end to that speculation: I scored a 12. That's not even in the geek range!!! It's far from the score of 21 that I'd need to be average in my own real-life profession.

I think the thing that threw off my score would be my social skills (which I may have exaggerated ;^) ), and the fact that I see understanding someone else's perspective as being one of my biggest strengths, not at all a weakness.

I think I should invent a new name for my own personal type of crazy. It's very clear that I qualify as different, but not quite the same kind of different as the Asperger's crowd. I'm my own kind of different. ;^)

36; seems reasonable, since I do have a significant number of traits on the spectrum; impaired social skills; a tendency towards repetitive behavior and "narrow" interests; hypersensitivity to complex/noisy environments; poor coordination, etc -- all rather pronounced.

This bit of the Wikipedia article on AS certainly stands out for me:

"as people with AS begin to understand theory of mind, they must make a deliberate effort to process social information. This often leads to mental exhaustion."

A few years ago when I was in counselling for depression, I remember talking about how overwhelming socializing was, and how it got progressively more difficult with additional people; decoding expressions and posture, reflecting on and modifying my own, paying attention to how things are said, being careful with how I say things, mulling over what's been said and picking out subtleties, trying to make sure what I say doesn't have any unintended ones.. even just trying to decide how much eye contact is reasonable has to have a look in, and most of it needs to be done *now*.

Then add to that how distracting the world can be; other people milling about, talking, shouting, music, cars, adverts, and all sorts of "interesting" details too numerous to mention. Even quite moderate background noise can also make it very difficult to work out what people are saying (as can heavy accents).

Oh, and, er, yeah, don't forget the models of other people in there too. Lots of intentions and feelings and beliefs and expectations about all sorts of things, especially other people (see how things start to multiply out of control when you add more people?), almost all based on guessing and ambiguous inferences.

My counsellor, astonished, asked "but.. how do you deal with all that?"; well, duh, I don't. I run out of time and space; my working memory overflows with all this stimulation and simulation, conversation moves on, and I end up having to discard a lot of it just to keep up. If I'm lucky, I'll manage to feel like I've interacted like a human being; more often than not it'll fall flat, or what I say will backfire completely, although I often won't notice until I do a bit of "postprocessing".

Conversing on a computer is so much simpler; everything's got a handy buffer so I don't have to remember exactly what's been said or what I was saying, and I have time to review exactly what I'm about to say. If I'm at home I can get up and pace about or fiddle with a nice cable tie or whatever without getting funny looks, and of course there's so much less out-of-band data to deal with -- not much goes unsaid. I can take mouthfuls from a glass instead of being blasted by a hosepipe.

I could go on about this and the other traits, but.. I need to go to bed, and this isn't my blog ;)

First attempt: 14.
I reckoned I was not being positive enough as I don't 'definitely' agree or disagree with anything much (apart from what PZ tells us of course).
Second attempt after trying to be definite: 21.

By astromcnaught (not verified) on 01 Aug 2007 #permalink

35, but I may have either drastically over or underestimated my ability to imagine fictional characters. And who would rather go to a party than a library? Personally, I'd rather go to a dentist than a party and always thought of parties as something you did as a social duty so as not to insult people that might be fun to be with on a one on one basis. No one is much fun in a large group.

You need a 32 to suggest Asperger's, and a 15 is the average. So there. I don't have Asperger's, I'm just cruel and insensitive.

I got a 16.

If I say "fuck you" enough would that raise my score? At last to Stern-level Tourette's?

I think there's a colloquial misunderstanding of some of the diagnostic characteristics, as well. Again, it isn't just being shy around people or not caring to be in crowds; it's an actual inability to understand social communication. Sarcasm? Likely to cause a fight because it's taken literally. Flirting? Right over the head. It isn't just liking numbers or being able to memorize things well; it's being obsessed with a particular subject or activity and really not seeing that everyone isn't the same way. And again, it's most often clustered with other problems, most notably slight to moderate gross and/or fine motor skill delays.
Overdiagnosed? Possibly. I was worried about that myself. That's why you have to find a good clinician.

Oh dear, I scored an 8.

Does this mean I'm only fit to be PZ's pet socialite-monkey?

15 for me. I'm normal, what a relief!

My reason for posting was that I don't like it when people represent educated guesses, even very reasonable ones, as facts. Particularly when they're trying to wrangle greater social acceptance/condemnation of something though the presentation of those 'facts'.

There was an additional benefit, though - we were treated to a demonstration of how little thinking people will do when presented with statements that superficially contradict their 'facts' and thus are perceived as a personal attack. Carlie in particular was especially inane. Thanks, Carlie!

By Caledonian (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

A 43. Definitely not a surprise.

34, and about to teach a class at work full of engineers I've never met. Funny what you get good at when you're motivated to.

By speedwell (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

Aspberger's is a dx on the (x-treme) risein publlic schools. Like its diagnostic predecessors for diagnoses for kids that didn't fit in and were kind of a pain, it is fuzzy and relies on questionable evidence-- like a general concensus from a committe of people who work with the kid daily, but may not know what in his behavior is salient, just that he's different, and mostly the psychologist who tests him for an hour or two but doesn't know him. And each child with this dx is different, though certainly there are commonalities. To get any kind of support or assistance at school, there has o be a formal diagnosis. The whole special ed scene becomes very politicized when parents are overachievers who expect the same for their children and want their child to get every possible therapy in school. this is reasonable up to a point, but sometimes kids get unduly "pathologized"; some are just a little different, not a bad thing, considering! Also the categories of diagnoses are restricted, so if the child has sensory integration issues, or is OCD but the parents don't want a label of emotioanlly disturbed, or... lots of scenarios, he gets the autism label. The mushiness of the diagnosis for many kids doesn't help. Underlying all the legalese-burocratese stuff is the threat of lawsuits, which really causes school boards to shit bricks. Often the net result is that otherwise competent, caring teachers in good schools 'work to rule' when threatened by parents, to avoid trouble, rather than working with the child sensibly and compassionately. The trouble is, sometimes teachers really do lack understanding and are not flexible with these students. If only everyone were smarter, and nicer, about education. It's hard in the current NCLB climate.

Something about these kids I'm wondering is, I see them when very young having quite restricted, sometimes ritualistic, play schema. Later, they may know lots of facts, but not have a narrative sense, or see how ideas are related, and so be unable to be creative/productive, or maybe even not really understand all the facts they spout. But not always. I'm not sure what the question is here, but I would like to work on developing play groups with the idea of elaborating play schema, not just 'playing nice' and socializing, which is the usual focus. But then, I'm kind of antisocial myself. And I didn't take the test-- the idea reminds me of those Cosmo quizzes-- we all know better. but I don't mean to be humorless.

I like how there's a distinction between physicists, biologists, and scientists.

I'm a 22. We can be cruel and insensitive together!

43 without trying or pausing.

But now that I've studied ...
There is a prize, isn't there?

I must say, the double depression, anhydonia, bankruptcy and divorce have helped me put things in perspective.

And my sense of humour has improved.

It has been suggested that it was the need to model complex social relationships that drove the evolution of the human brain.

What happens when the programming of social neuromodules is disrupted, and the hardware that would have been devoted to interpersonal tasks is freed to associate itself with the other modules around it?

Autism and Asperger's might hold the key.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

The human heart is a dark, dark forest.

15. Couldn't be more mid-stream. I've got the social skills, I just don't like enough people to use them all the time.

Stephen Wells: "Okay, now I'm starting to feel weird that I DIDN'T memorise any eye charts." Heh... Yes. It it possible that my score of 12 corrolates with my 20-15 vision? LOL

Carlie: "I think there's a colloquial misunderstanding of some of the diagnostic characteristics, as well."

Yes! and your examples are compelling. I think that ties in with what Mary D wrote about diagnosis by casual consensus. "That's why you have to find a good clinician." Yeah.

My brother's NVLD is relatively mild, but still I recognize some of the overlap with AS. He doesn't read between the lines very well, nor does he easily pick up social cues or body language, though he is so bright it seems he has developed compensatory skills, and at 16 he is more mature, and it shows. His fine motor skills are pretty good, with the notable exception that he tends to handle things more roughly than necessary. Yup, he's grabber and a pencil-breaker, among other things. Nonetheless, he's pretty good with the sketch-pad, and (perhaps more significantly) exhibits real talent as a sculptor. He's bright, good-natured, cute, funny, and relates well to adults - but tends to be blunt and has never had (or needed) many friends. He attends well to detail - but is very poor at executing higher levels of organization. He has a voracious mind and an encyclopedic memory - but has trouble remembering people's names.

I've had interesting chats with a woman whose son has a more severe case of NVLD, and I believe her stories would be very familiar to you. Two of her favorite at-home therapies are: 1) teaching her son how to tell jokes, and 2) watching television with the sound off and having him describe what he thinks is going on.

Mary D, very interesting post. Yup, this was like a Cosmo quiz, and I expected to learn that I was compatible with Physicists, Libras and Scotsmen, but all I got was this 12". :-)

Unduly pathologized, indeed, because an IEP can't be drawn up without a formal diagnosis. I have to wonder if some, perhaps many, of those Asperger dx's are the result of the current, umm, popularity of the diagnosis (it is interesting, after all) but which may be, more simply, a moderate to severe instance of NVLD.

"Asperger's" in a person simply means they are more obsessive than the "average". Intelligent people are, generally, more obsessive than average. One needs to be a bit obsessive in order to function at all as an intelligent person. Its not a "mental illness" at all. Its a normal (if potential) aspect of the fiendishly complex human brain, expressed in some proportion of the population, to the benefit of the rest of the population.

One can easily conceive that every "weirdo" shaman or "medicine man" in prehistory had the obsessive capacity to remember huge amounts of information on substances related to the tribe's health and welfare. The tendency for that kind of piercing (if obsessive) intellect is probably selected.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

Google: "Wrong planet" "you might be an aspie if"

and read all the (many) posts. It will give you a better insight into Asperger's than almost anything else that I know of.

By WuffenCuckoo (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

It's not just a matter of memorizing or social awkwardness. There's all the ritualistic/OCD type behavior, obsessive interest and discussion on ONLY topics of interest (discussion ad nauseum for everyone else), etc etc. If you know someone with AS, you know it isn't someone who's just a little "off". It greatly interferes in their lives.

One problem we ran into was initially, our son was dx with ADHD. Oh, and then add on General Anxiety Disorder. Oh, let's toss in OCD. Occam, are you near? But the problem is that a DOCTOR made a diagnosis. We eventually went to a few other doctors, neurosurgeons that is, and they concurred on AS, which is different than a collage of conditions.

True Bob says, "If you know someone with AS, you know it isn't someone who's just a little "off". It greatly interferes in their lives."

I allegedly have it. I know others who allegedly have it. It doesn't interfere with our lives. We're fine with it. Really. It MIGHT, however, interfere with those who think we're "a little off".

Look. Its getting to the point now where EVERY person can be diagnosed with one pathology or another. Nobody is without SOME problem.

Take a moment to think: maybe many of these "pathologies" are really just a medical reinterpretation of what constitutes the ordinary diversity of humans. The question of what is actually "normal" in a human being hasn't even been pinned down yet, and is not likely to be anytime soon. Relax. Humans flourish with a great variety of so-called "abnormalities". ANY creature with brains as complex as ours would. We REQUIRE the "abnormal" among us to excell.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

Hah! 40.

I say, "It MIGHT, however, interfere with those who think we're "a little off"."

What I meant to add is that the interference we get comes from those who think they are interefered with.

Ironically, I have found that as soon as this new info on Asperger's became known, many of my colleagues who used to regard me with cocked eyebrow suddenly cut me some slack, on the flimsiest possible evidence that I had it.

According to the Profession, I happen to more than qualify. But I need no such slack from anybody who can't treat anybody on their own merits to begin with. Most of them are still spherical bastards. The few that managed to learn the larger lesson are cool. Just wait until learning (or its lack) is determined to be due to some pathology or other. Its ridiculous.

BTW: DON'T give in to well-meaning idiot pediatricians who automatically prescribe ritalin for kids who act like children. Remember? Kids? They can be a pain as well as a joy. Live with them as they are. TRY to "deal with them". R-A-I-S-E them YOURSELF, rather than relying on electronic pacifiers. Parents should be in the business of raising their kids. Hominin PARENTHOOD is among the loftiest of their traditions, and its lasted for millions of years now. Ritalin doesn't fix jackshit, except to introduce kids to the dangerous idea that medication will so easily solve their problems, while actually solving none of them.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

32, which is an interesting 2^5, but that's only 20 in hex, so I think I'm fine after all.

Ms Margaret, #125: feh.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

I've long suspected i've had it and even saw a doctor about it once, but then decided it wasn't serious enough to bother trying to treat. Not surprisingly i scored a 35 on the test.

aiabx says, "32, which is an interesting 2^5, but that's only 20 in hex, so I think I'm fine after all."

You'd be fine if you scored a 64 or a negative 32. There's nothing there to measure, much less in such an inane poll. Its Garbage.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

I'm a 27.

It is easier to tell someone you have a disorder than to say, "I'm smarter and more talented than most people".

It's not just a matter of memorizing or social awkwardness. There's all the ritualistic/OCD type behavior, obsessive interest and discussion on ONLY topics of interest (discussion ad nauseum for everyone else), etc etc. If you know someone with AS, you know it isn't someone who's just a little "off". It greatly interferes in their lives.

Because if it doesn't "interfere with their lives", by definition they don't have the disorder.

Isn't that interesting? Someone could have cancer and never notice it or have it interfere, or be carrying an infection that doesn't trouble them, and they're still sick. But mental disorders that go away if they don't bother anyone?

By Caledonian (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

Arnosium, I suspect you know not of what you speak. It's great if it doesn't interfere with your life, so no biggy. OTOH, you sound much like those who tell depressives "just get over it".

It's NOT a matter of will or perseverance. There may indeed be a propensity to toss out diagnoses, and there may be a fad aspect to it, like ADD/ADHD so recently. That doesn't negate the real experiences and problems of people who DO fall into this set of criteria.

Like I said before, if you know someone who does have AS, it's not remotely normal behavior. Examples - objects that MUST accompany the ASer, rigid time schedules, continuous panic mode in heavily social situations, inability to make eye contact, ritualistic behaviors.

It's not like this stuff is a set of choices or preferences; these people are incapable of typical human interaction. I'll agree that an online quiz like this means nothing, but that doesn't mean AS is nothing.

@Niobe (#92):

personally, i think it's a sham. or at least way over-diagnosed.

Yeah but not by mental health professionals but people online...

no, by mental health professionals. my brother was diagnosed with aspergers, adhd, and tourettes. all based on the same "symptoms." one doctor says one thing, another said something else. isn't "ability to reproduce results" one of the definitions of a solid scientific theory?

in fact, the only relationship we could figure out is that the tourettes specialist diagnosed him with tourettes, the aspergers specialist diagnosed him with aspergers... etc. ironically, i learned about the bias that produces those kind of results in my high school psychology class.

By arachnophilia (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

What happens when the programming of social neuromodules is disrupted, and the hardware that would have been devoted to interpersonal tasks is freed to associate itself with the other modules around it?

Ah, yes. A good question. Well, it seems that sometimes we get savants; Rain Men; math, memory, and calendar geniuses whose inability to make eye contact is only one feature of the larger social problem of being unable to engage in a conversation without hiding behind or under a desk. (I am not making a joke, I am describing someone I know.) The presumed resulting increase in processing power is intriguing. Hmmm... Thufir Hawat.

I got my wires crossed a bit when I was looking at the list of the ten most recent comments, and I thought I saw the words, "I'm differently normal." Seems appropriate.

Mister True Bob, #134, says, "It's not like this stuff is a set of choices or preferences; these people are incapable of typical human interaction. I'll agree that an online quiz like this means nothing, but that doesn't mean AS is nothing."

What on earth makes you think anybody is suggesting that ANY configuration of the human mind, INCLUDING what you are so pleased to identify as "normal" or "typical", is a matter of choice? As if being "normal" allows one to more easily make choices. As if there really is such a thing as "typical human interaction". BAH!

I never once suggested that AS is "nothing". Where the hell did you get that impression from?

You "suspect" I know not of what I speak. Don't you DARE tell me what it is you think I don't know about this subject. I have lots of friends who, along with me, fall into that category of Asperger's and Tourette's that pompous asses like you love to take advantage of by declaring an ABNORMALITY and thereby raising your estimation of yourself by that dubious distinction. Fuck you. Let me ask you if YOU YOURSELF have SO-CALLED ASPERGER'S. DO YOU? If not, shut the hell up. You know CRAP. What the hell do you know about it besides SUSPECTING it in your son or other people, based on what you have been told by doctors and what you have pretended to glean from reading about it? Imbecile spherical bastard.

For the others, very very sorry for the crudity, but I'm NOT sorry for speaking my mind, as is. I do tend to get pissed off at nonsense, but if that's an "abnormality", I will permanently retire.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

"Because if it doesn't "interfere with their lives", by definition they don't have the disorder.

Isn't that interesting? Someone could have cancer and never notice it or have it interfere, or be carrying an infection that doesn't trouble them, and they're still sick. But mental disorders that go away if they don't bother anyone?"

Inaccurate analogy. "Interfering with their lives" doesn't strictly translate to simply "bothering someone else;" interference with your life is being too depressed to get out of bed, or too distracted to care for yourself, or too hung over to go to work, or too sick to carry on your daily ordinary life. All these may indeed be a bother and a trial to others, but the primary person affected is the patient

If someone takes the antidepressants or antipsychotics that control the symptoms and make life manageable and keep the problem from "interfering with their lives", that doesn't mean the depression or the schizophrenia or whatever is gone.

If someone attends AA or whatever and stays off the booze, it doesn't mean the alcoholism is gone-- but it's not interfering with the person's life as hugely.

If someone is in treatment for cancer or an infection and the symptoms are under control so that they can carry on normal daily life, the disease isn't gone-- but it's under control.

Many mental and emotional illnesses or syndromes or conditions or whatever you want to call them are, because of their biological basis, as chronic as many physical illnesses such as diabetes. The key is the point at which the condition does "interfere with daily life."

By Faithful Reader (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

Got a 26, and could have probably, with slight adjustments, gotten a 28.. Guess I am more abnormal the PZ. lol Seriously though, why is it that these tests always have: completely agree, barely agree, what was the question, barely disagree and completely disagree as the only options? Is it too hard to plot values with 7 possibilities, such as "mostly agree and mostly disagree"? It makes it damn hard some times to pick *which* option actually represents what you mean. Its possible I would have a score higher or lower, simply due to having half a point shaved in several places.

Arno:

Ritalin doesn't fix jackshit, except to introduce kids to the dangerous idea that medication will so easily solve their problems, while actually solving none of them.

That is not a true statement. It may be true in some cases, but a blanket statement like that is indefensible and irresponsible. You and Tom Cruise could have some very interesting conversations, I'm sure.

Look, Arno, I'm a fan of yours, and I agree with much of what you said in your comment - even the statement I object to has some truth in it - but I can't endorse the statment. Work with me here. Is ADD/ADHD overdiagnosed? IMO, Yes. Misdiagnosed? Sometimes, yes. Are medications overprescribed? IMO, Yes. Should medication be a last resort in most cases? IMO, Yes. Is it actually used as a last resort in most cases? No.

However, none of that changes the fact that stimulant meds are prescribed for attention deficit because they work. I'll take this even further: It's possible that they are under-prescribed, for we can only speculate on how many people with undiagnosed, untreated attention problems self-medicate with coffee, diet coke, and nicotine because it works. Many people do this without even understanding what they are doing, or why!

Spiderlover:

my brother was diagnosed with aspergers, adhd, and tourettes. all based on the same "symptoms." one doctor says one thing, another said something else. isn't "ability to reproduce results" one of the definitions of a solid scientific theory?

Gah! Yes, diagnosing conditions can be difficult, imprecise, and inaccurate. I understand your frustration! However, does your personal experience (sample size: 1) prove, or even suggest, that the syndrome as defined doesn't exist? Ignoring for the moment that "scientific theory" has nothing to do with "a set of diagnostic criteria", what you're doing is analgous to what creationists do when they say evolution does not occur because the theory of evolution fails to perfectly answer every imaginable question about the origins and development of life on earth.

By Kseniya (stran… (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

14. Apart from acute introversion and a fair degree of social awkwardness, I don't really fit the profile at all. I'm a fiction writer by hobby, I get bored by details and people have told me that I'm pretty perceptive of how other people are thinking - it just doesn't seem to help me relate to them.

I've really had to consciously concentrate on not avoiding eye contact with people though.

Anyway, I guess my point is that not every asocial or socially awkward person has aspergers syndrome - and overdiagnosis may only lead to the creation of a fairly meaningless 'meta-syndrome' which actually describes a huge range of different atypicalities/disorders (choose whichever word you prefer).

Arnosium @ 138 says:

"I never once suggested that AS is "nothing". Where the hell did you get that impression from?"

Earlier, Arnosium @ 131 said:

"There's nothing there to measure..."

That's where I got that impression (the ellipsis does not affect the content).

And no, I do not have AS, and I don't think of it as some disability nor as some badge of honor. It's a fact of life, for some people.

I consider typical interaction things like shopping, meeting people, working in groups. Sorry if those seem to you such outrageously bizarre interactions. I suppose I could've been clearer.

"Don't you DARE tell me what it is you think I don't know about this subject."

Right-o. It's OK for you to speak YOUR mind, but by gum I better not tell you mine. Grow up.

Yes, diagnosing conditions can be difficult, imprecise, and inaccurate. I understand your frustration! However, does your personal experience (sample size: 1) prove, or even suggest, that the syndrome as defined doesn't exist? Ignoring for the moment that "scientific theory" has nothing to do with "a set of diagnostic criteria", what you're doing is analgous to what creationists do when they say evolution does not occur because the theory of evolution fails to perfectly answer every imaginable question about the origins and development of life on earth.

I had a very good mathematical modeling of biology class at the UW (Seattle) with Kristin Swanson in Pathology. One of the things she went over in the first meeting was the necessity to identify the variables in a new situation, before we can explore the mathematical relationships among those variables in any meaningful way. It's a qualitative process, and it is slow, and not as fun and cool as assigning values and calculating results, but it's essential if the quantitative process to follow is to have any validity. We don't even think about that process in a domain as well-established as, say, physics, but at some point, someone had to describe the concepts of force, momentum, acceleration, etc.

To some degree, biology and medicine (even more so) are in that situation now--we're still figuring out what the basic concepts are, and not everyone agrees on the definitions. It is frustrating, and as spiderlover correctly observes, if it is to be the basis of a solid scientific theory, it still has a long way to go. And I don't think it will ever be purely scientific in any case; knowledge will never be perfect; even if it were, it would not be deterministic. And even the evidence-based medicine movement emphasizes that evidence is to be integrated with practitioner experience and patient preference.

If we were only scientists and nothing else, then we would just leave it at that until we did have enough knowledge for a solid theory. But human need drives action in the absence of complete knowledge, and so--rather than waiting until we can proceed fully rationally and scientifically--we mix what knowledge we have with a lot of ad hoc solutions, expectations, and belief. Spiderlover's experience shows how much that mixture can vary (not reliable) from practitioner to practitioner. Not that "'scientific theory' has nothing to do with 'a set of diagnostic criteria'" so much as that diagnosis will never be fully reducible to a recipe, but the point about the unstasfactoriness of the inter-physician reliability of the diagnosis is well-taken.

It's not surprising that that situation is very frustrating for patients and their families (as it is for the practitioners as well), but in light of the suffering that conditions cause, we're compelled to act with the best knowledge we have to try to alleviate it. It's fair, I think, to point out that the status quo is less than scientific; I don't think that we want to advocate giving up as a result (the creationist solution), though.

Right, RavenT/thalarctos. (Is this a permanent change?)That's what I was (over?) reacting to, the tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater, to declare the criteria a failure because the diagnostic sometimes fails.

Oh, and I should point out that I used "spiderlover" in my post because I was in preview mode and somehow remembered the meaning of the handle rather than the handle itself. Sorry about that! I meant to address "arachnophilia" (spider love!)

Right, RavenT/thalarctos. (Is this a permanent change?)

Yes, I'm getting myself confused when raven and I post on the same thread, and someone answers @ Raven. There's a murder of ravens around the blogs I frequent nowadays.

Unless and until some polar bear biologist who rejects the whole reclassification into Ursus thing joins the discussion, this nym should be fairly unambiguous.

Oh, and I should point out that I used "spiderlover" in my post because I was in preview mode and somehow remembered the meaning of the handle rather than the handle itself. Sorry about that! I meant to address "arachnophilia" (spider love!)

Crap, I did it too! Sorry, arachnophilia; I remember concepts much better than terms, which makes my giving driving directions positively hallucinatory at times. Kseniya code-switched your handle, and I'm susceptible enough to code-switching myself that I didn't even notice.

There's an anthropology prof (I'll look her name up if you're interested, Kseniya) who hypothesizes that monolinguality is a trait that enhances group solidarity, and that people who learn foreign languages easily are the exception. Or as I prefer, "mutants". So maybe this code-switching among concepts we did is our "tell" that we're mutants, hmmm?

thalkarctos/Kseniya

I have the 'code-switching' enhancement too.... but I am absolutely useless at learning languages -- However, I am really good at learning new music, and can usually repeat a song (including the twiddly bits) after only one or two hearings.

Not sure why that would be relevant...

But I also give hallucinatory directions (not sure if that's a good thing in a consultant)

I guess I am just an average Physicist?
hehehehe. I love these surveys.

19 Average male scientist, and average male or female physicist

By The Physicist (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

11?? What's that make me...a dentist?

Yeay! thalarctos included me! I'm in the in-crowd!!!

Nyah Nyah Nyah. Look how cool it is to be one of us....

Also: I'm an '8' which makes me the polar opposite of AS (is that a flibertygibbet?)

However, I am really good at learning new music, and can usually repeat a song (including the twiddly bits) after only one or two hearings.

You mean "repeat" as in play back, on an instrument such as guitar or piano? Hmmm, same here, I can do that. Music is really my second language. Computer languages come pretty easily too. Maybe I should go into software instead of... errr... "software".

Additonally, like you I am not gifted with learning foreign languages - to my perpetual disappointment. I have to work at it; it's a struggle.

However, I'm fairly good at giving directions.

Hmmm, I wonder if there's a syndrome named after this particular collection of abilities and deficits...

there is a name for this...
it's called genius

and occasionally jaw-dropping handsomeness too ;)

= D    Yeah, but what about the syndrome that doesn't include the tendency to give hallucinatory directions?

Yes.... and I did mean on guitar/piano (I used to be able to do the same on trumpet/trombone... but not since high school)

Not anywhere near as 'gifted' as I used to be - lack of practice (sometimes weeks between picking up my guitar or pounding on a keyboard)

I can still do the vocal thing though! (I can do the tunes, but the words are *always* dum dah dah dum dee bop bop bah good do do lovin' yeah)

And I did learn tabla way back when (another thing you need to practice - dare I say it - religiously. ;)

My brother is *way* better than me -- he can play practically anything 'stringed or keyed' within minutes of picking it up, strapping it on, or bellying up to it! bah!

I'm afraid that is simply called competence. (not something I have) =D

Also: I'm an '8' which makes me the polar opposite of AS (is that a flibertygibbet?)

The true polar opposite on the spectrum including autism/Asperger's would be Williams' Syndrome.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

Caledonian: Thanks for the info. I wan't aware of the syndrome, but I agree (having just googled) that it dopes, indeed, appear to be the polar opposite of AS.

My apologies to anyone offended by my lame attempt at humor. However I truly *am* a flibertygibbet

Can someone explain to me why "looking into your eyes" is doubleplusgood?

What are reasons it should be done?

What harm is caused by its absence?

How can deviants be brought into line?

Can someone explain to me why "looking into your eyes" is doubleplusgood?

khan, that's a perfect example of how the test is bound to Anglo-American cultural constraints.

The anthropological and pedagogical literature has many examples of misunderstanding based on this cultural difference. People from cultures who consider looking into the other person's eyes to be too rudely direct run a high risk of being perceived as shifty and dishonest by the standards of the dominant US culture.

An average individual from one of those cultures would get a point for AS just for that learned behavior, rather than any underlying pathology. There are studies examining how this perception plays out in vocational and educational opportunities for the people from the non-dominant culture; this judgment does not enhance their prospects, to say the least.

#159,

It's supposed to denote interest in the other, honesty, and confidence. It is characteristic of people who find another fascinating. Infants with old people, couples, that sort of thing.

As to things like assesment tests, the most accurate assesment I ever received consisted of, "Not only are you weird, you're proud of it."

actually, strike "pathology" in my comment above; I think--based on the discussion here--I'd be more comfortable with "condition", in light of what we do and don't know about AS.

So. How will you be referring to the former Mr. T in the future?

So. How will you be referring to the former Mr. T in the future?

Heh--Mr. T. I like that!

You raise a good point, though. If I call him Mr. thalarctos, I break the continuity with past comments. If I continue to call him Mr. Raven, it doesn't serve the purpose anymore, and might be further confused with raven.

I think "Mr. thalarctos" is better, since it keeps the connection between us when I invoke him that way.

Oh right, LOL, it was Mr. Raven, not Mr. T. I knew it looked funny, but could not figure out why. Mr. T must be vaguely related to "Spiderlover" in my mind... *mutter*

Anyway.

So you won't be using "Mr. Maritimus", then. I think I'm glad to know that.

By Ксения (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

Hmmm, and wasn't there a Mr. Raven in George MacDonald's Lilith?

Mr. Vane, the protagonist of Lilith, owns a library that seems to be haunted by the former librarian, who looks much like a raven from the brief glimpses he catches of the wraith. After finally encountering the supposed ghost, the mysterious Mr. Raven, Vane learns that Raven had known his father; indeed, Vane's father had visited the strange parallel universe from which Raven comes and goes and now resides therein.

Why, you are quite right; sounds like another one for my get-around-to-reading someday list. It's a case of convergent evolution only, but when Mr. thalarctos gets home from class, I'll see if he's read it and already knows of his accidental eponym.

@Kseniya (strangerlover) (#141)

Gah! Yes, diagnosing conditions can be difficult, imprecise, and inaccurate. I understand your frustration! However, does your personal experience (sample size: 1) prove, or even suggest, that the syndrome as defined doesn't exist? Ignoring for the moment that "scientific theory" has nothing to do with "a set of diagnostic criteria", what you're doing is analgous to what creationists do when they say evolution does not occur because the theory of evolution fails to perfectly answer every imaginable question about the origins and development of life on earth.

er, no, what i meant was that whatever is being practiced by mental health care professionals is not very scientific. and the sample size is more than 1, from personal experience -- 3 doctors is 3 data points. and considering return visits when the medication didn't work as intended, where the diagnoses were not questioned...

the problem as i see it is not one of a condition that does not exist, although i find the definition itself kind of a stretch, but of one that is happily and quickly diagnosed without much research. as are a great many other similar diagnoses applied to children. frankly, from a scientific standpoint, medicating developing minds is still a rather uncharted territory. we are only now starting to learn about lasting effects -- and we definitally shouldn't be so quick to put any old diagnosis down on paper, and put our children on whatever medication paid for the doctor's last trip to the bahamas.

autism exists. i know people with it. someone in my family has it -- he's actually an idiot savant. can't tie his shoe, but paints like you wouldn't believe. asperger's is often phrased as "high functioning" or "mild autism." it's a "spectrum disorder" so what i am really quibbling with is where the line is drawn on the "normal" end of that spectrum. we're essentially diagnosing people who are eccentric, or geeky -- where does personality stop and impairing disorder begin? if they're "highly functional" how is it a disorder?

By arachnophilia (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink

if they're "highly functional" how is it a disorder?

'highly functional' is a rather curious phrase. Many Asperger's sufferers cannot hold normal jobs unless their co-workers make compensations for their condition - compensations that people unfamiliar with Asperger's will find bizarre, and be unwilling to make. Rather than perceiving Asperger's as 'like being a geek' it is perhaps less inaccurate to view it as '(nearly) disabling geekiness' .

I think it is counter productive to expect a convenient dividing line between a personality peculiarity and a disorder.

The etiology of Asperger's and the other autism spectrum disorders is a very strong research interest of mine. I scored a 35. I am self-diagnosed with Asperger's after it started getting better due to increasing my NO level via the technique I discovered. I didn't know I had Asperger's before it started getting better, so a placebo effect is unlikely.

I see Asperger's as a completely normal human trait, just like being tall or short, but a lot more complicated.

http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2007/05/evolution-of-asds-as-invoking-to…

I see it as being invoked in utero due to maternal stress, so as to invoke the "tool making" and "tool using" phenotype. I see it as perhaps the defining human characteristic. I think that all humans necessarily have ASD characteristics, it is only the degree that is different.

If you have no ASD characteristics, you are not a human. Sort of like the immune system. Anaphylaxis is bad, but if your immune system won't support anaphylaxis, you have a really crappy immune system, no where close to being intact or sufficient.

In utero is the only time that a brain can be reprogrammed. Every other organ is programmed in utero by maternal stress, it would be surprising if the most important organ, the brain, were not.

The most important positive trait of the ASDs is the disruption of mirror neurons. It is the disconnection from cultural and sociatal norms and "peer pressure" that allow people with ASDs to abandon the "conventional wisdom" and do something new. It was Einstein's Asperger's that allowed him to abandon Newtonian mechanics and come up with special relativity. Many scientific peers of the day couldn't.

This is a problem in scientific peer review. Peer review is good for what Thomas Kuhn calls "normal science", but doesn't work well for paradigm breaking science, such as relativity. One could put together a group of excellent scientific peers of the time, who never accepted relativity and if they had been the gatekeepers never would have allowed it to be published.

Is every scientific paradigm we have now correct? Very likely not. Will paradigm breaking research ever get funded? Very likely not.

159. The reason that looking into someones eyes is "doubleplusgood" is because it fits the communication paradigm that most NT humans use to identify other near relatives. If you are not a near relative, then you are foreign, and can't be trusted (and should be killed). It is a lack of consilience in the mirror neuron system that activates the xenophobia module and causes xenophobia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

People can activate xenophobia by having a different mirror neuron communciation structure as in NTs who are of different cultures, or by having disrupted mirror neurons as are ASDs of the same culture. Activation of the xenophobia module causes feelings of antipathy, which are what lead to abuse of ASDs by bullies and general bigotry. I think it is this antipathy that gets displaced onto the pharmaceutical companies by parents who "hate" their ASD children. Obviously something is "wrong" if parent "hates" their child, what it "wrong" is what the evil pharmaceutical companies did. It is pure projection.

thalarctos: Lilith is a good read. C.S. Lewis cites MacDonald as a primary influence, for reasons which quickly become apparent as one reads the book. It's beautifully written... and I think I should say no more about it.

arachnophilia: I hear you; my mistake was distilling your earlier remark down to something like "This didn't work for me, therefore it's completely invalid." Sorry about that. I've grown very tired of that, to the point where I may be starting to hear it even when it hasn't been said. ;-)

Where is the line drawn? Well, that's just it. There is no line. There's a fuzzy border. I suppose that means there will always be some subjectivity in psychological diagnosis, which is why concensus dx does have some advantages. IMO.

"I think it is counter productive to expect a convenient dividing line between a personality peculiarity and a disorder." ~ llewelly

Yeah.

The artistic talents sometimes displayed by those with autism can be truly astonishing. I read about a young girl of grade-school age who could draw a horse's head with magnificent accuracy and detail. She'd never draw the whole horse, apparently, but sometimes she'd throw in a hoof somewhere farther down the page. Eventually someone realized that the hoof was right where it would be if she'd drawn the entire horse. Yeah, I guess that's subject to interpretation, but it's an interesting anecdote nonetheless.

Kseniya #141: Yes, I fully admit it was a "blanket" statement, precipitously made. BUT, I do NOT think it was all that "indefensible and irresponsible". I don't think so in the least. You even provide a pretty good defense of what I said yourself. (Sure, I'll work with you here. You say:

"Is ADD/ADHD overdiagnosed? IMO, Yes. Misdiagnosed? Sometimes, yes. Are medications overprescribed? IMO, Yes. Should medication be a last resort in most cases? IMO, Yes. Is it actually used as a last resort in most cases? No."

Couldn't agree with you more. There IS evidence, however, that not only suggests overdiagnosis and overprescription (there will always be a bit of that) but that this is in the MAJORITY of cases in many places around the country. There are schools that have up to a third of their students on it. Are there REALLY that many kids suffering from this "disorder"?

I stand by what I said: the prescribing of Ritalin DOESN'T ACTUALLY FIX anything. Sounds pretty absolute, doesn't it? Well, it OUGHT to. Just because it or other substances "work" doesn't mean anything gets solved. Attention deficit "disorders" have gummed up humanity for a long time, long before these "disorders" were ever recognized. These "disorders' were all dealt with in the past by a variety of human social skills ranging from parental tolerance and patience to training kids how to deal with it.

Granted, results may have been rather mixed, but medicating the symptoms hardly does anything except give everybody a cozy feeling that the problem has been "fixed", thus letting them off the hook of doing the hard work of actually raising their children.

Medication? Seriously? It works? It fixes the problem? Tweaking SYMPTOMS fixes the problem? I don't think so. Not when this society could do so much more effectively besides blindly exacerbating the condition, wantonly exposing its kids so afflicted to a wild range of empty-headed stimuli from a media explosion that provides everything from electronic "kill-games" to theme-park "thrill-rides". Not to mention feeding them corn-syrup and hot dogs to an extent that elicits in me images of a geese getting stuffed for the pate de fois gras entre.

The "disorder" HAS been shown to be on the increase. What's the root cause of that? Wanna fix it? You won't by throwing ritalin at it, you know.

One wonders if media and soft-drink interests buy lots of stock in companies that serve ritalin...

BTW: I must say, your associating my opinion with Tom Cruise's is laughable. I had a good chuckle, thanks. Are you always in the habit of assuming that one person's particular opinion is arrived at by the same considerations? I think that's pretty "indefensible and irresponsible" as well as demonstrating a well-entrenched habit of blanket-thinking. Not to worry, I won't hold that against you. I like humor from the absurd angle. Many thanks ;)

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 03 Aug 2007 #permalink

MISTER True Bob#143: So, sir, you evidently think that that something needs to have been measured before it can be said to exist. Or that someone can lay an opinion out in favor of its existence without having a clue as to how or whether it can possibly be measured. Or maybe you merely think that humans are fantastically adept at measurement.

Damn the ellipsis. The content is there and clear and I stand by it, bub. Never mind what you think my intentions were in placing the word into it. I know full well what I said. You just could't understand it, that's all.

How odd you use the term "impression" in your service. Very crafty of you. Might not that "impression" have been a little off? Perhaps?

You say, "...no, I do not have AS, and I don't think of it as some disability nor as some badge of honor. It's a fact of life, for some people."

Well, good for you. You are not "afflicted" with it. "Badge of honor"? Where does that peculiar emotional reaction come from?

You say, "I consider typical interaction things like shopping, meeting people, working in groups. Sorry if those seem to you such outrageously bizarre interactions. I suppose I could've been clearer."

I suppose you could have been too. Its irrelevant. I knew what you said. I didn't like your suggestion that I didn't know what I was talking about, that's all. But I have to wonder where you get the idea that I find those interactions "outrageously bizarre". I don't like anyone attributing to me what I have not said or even remotely implied. (Are you SURE you don't suffer from at least a mild form of AS? Think about it. I happen to think EVERYBODY has a tendency, no matter how much they think they have homogenized themselves into the fantasy of human "normalcy").

You react with splendid display of emotion. I FIRST let YOU know I have MY opinions that I do not like getting crapped on BY YOU, and then you have the monumental audacity to say,

"Right-o. It's OK for you to speak YOUR mind, but by gum I better not tell you mine. Grow up."

I have no problem with other people's opinions whatsoever. If I disagree, I reserve the right to say so. Its entirely reciprocal: other folks may disagree with me. I find it a dandy thing, this communication stuff. But if the ad hominem flame is set by anybody, however small the spark, I will use it to burn the other asshole down. It takes an assole to beat down another. We are all capable of it, now and then. Facts of life, man. You can use a little growing up yourself, nay?

Otherwise, I have much enjoyed your previous posts. Relax now with a beer or whatever suits you, and consider the lillies of the field. Or whatever.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 03 Aug 2007 #permalink

Arno, you're right, the Cruise gibe was cheap. I didn't much like it myself, actually. I retract it, and humbly ask you to accept my apology. You raise many interesting points, I dunno if I can get my brain working in this 90 degree heat to address them.

Tweaking SYMPTOMS fixes the problem?

I guess that depends on what you mean by "fixes". Cures? Ameliorates? Cures, no; but whether or not the problem is "fixed" in a way that justifies the use of the medication depends on the seriousness of the problem, and on what other options are available. Are you saying that use of stimulant meds is never justified?

Are we still just talking about ADD/ADHD and Ritalin? Would you take the same stand on Lithium as a treatment for BPD? I'm not asking as a way to poke a hole in your position on Ritalin. I just wondering where you stand on meds in general. (Or if you even have a "general" take on it at all.)

Anyway, I'm happy to amuse, rather than anger or disgust you. If you scan my comments on other threads, I imagine you'll find many other such opportunities to be amused. ;-)

Ack... I'm suffering from bag tag syndrome. The first paragraph was mine; I'm intended to make "Arno" bold, and the rest normal. You can see just how badly I failed - LOL.

I stand by what I said: the prescribing of Ritalin DOESN'T ACTUALLY FIX anything. Sounds pretty absolute, doesn't it? Well, it OUGHT to. Just because it or other substances "work" doesn't mean anything gets solved.

So since my glasses don't actually "fix" the pathetic shape of my corneas, they don't solve anything? What an odd way to look at it. I say that they solve the really, really big problem of me not being able to effin' see anything. It's not a perfect fix, but it's good enough to make me happy.

So since my glasses don't actually "fix" the pathetic shape of my corneas, they don't solve anything?

The proper function of corneas and lenses is easy to determine, and it's clear you have a problem. Your glasses address that problem. The result might not be ideal, but the result is clearly better than the alternative.

None of those things holds for mental disorders, except that sometimes it is clear the treatment is better than nonaction.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 04 Aug 2007 #permalink

None of those things hold for mental disorders? You contradict yourself in the very next phrase. If it is indeed sometimes clear that treatment is better than nonaction, then it would also be clear that in the absence of treatment there is a problem, and that the problem is being addressed by the treatment, and that the result is better than the alternative of nonaction. Otherwise how would you determine that treatment is better than nonaction in any single case?

Arno, no offense intended. My apologies if that seemed too personal (my suspicion of your knowledge). But please note, I said it was my suspicion, not my conclusion. I based that on my impression from your words.

You seem (my impression) to dismiss AS as just another bit of the human condition, which I suppose is accurate, if you want to include bipolar, depression, paranoid schizophrenia, autism, etc, as among the typical behaviors. (And for fun, let's say atypical is 3 or more sigma.)

I say stand by your words, but you could've been clearer. I still don't see how "there is nothing there to measure" is the same as "AS is real, but this quiz or other tools cannot measure it". Truly, so many neurological conditions cannot be measured. That's why they currently call it an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and why an EEG won't show some of these disorders (depression, schizophrenia, etc etc etc). EEG gets used to exclude epilepsy.

"... Imbecile spherical bastard...

...pompous asses like you love...

...Fuck you..."

Ad hominem? What's that mean? Where did I go after YOU and not what you wrote?

"21 Average male or female computer scientist"

It's almost spooky.

I realize this is just an online "thought provoker", but one thing that bothers me about this test is that it doesn't seem to control for what one might call "cautiousness". I have no idea most of the time which of the two on the given side I should pick and usually pick the one closer to the middle. But there could be someone very much like me who is simply less cautious and selected all the "outside" ones, and so would score much higher, I imagine ...

11? I wonder what that says :)

By George Tzep (not verified) on 19 Aug 2007 #permalink

I scored 11. They haven't highlighted this properly on the scale, but in actual fact, that makes me: Awesome. :-)

I scored 7 (well below par) which is interesting for two reasons;
1. because of my ADHD during childhood, often confused with Asperger's, and;
2. because it's about me!

By Scrofulum (not verified) on 20 Aug 2007 #permalink

I am a total geek, CS/Math major, but I scored 11. I would have scored much higher when I was a student, but now that I have to seek out social situations I value them more.

The test apparently doesn't distinguish between "slightly" and "definitely". It doesn't include any of the physical symptoms. I don't think it is well designed.

Hmmm, a somewhat geeky, but-nowhere-near-Asperger's, 23 for me.

FWIW, I wouldn't be at all surprised if there is some correlation between geekiness and atheism. I don't see how that is to the detriment of either.

Just a note in re Asperger's: there was a fascinating autobiographical essay from an author with Asperger's in a recent _New Yorker_, for those interested: the author is Tim Page, and it's pp 36-41 in the 20 August edition, under the "Personal History" heading, titled "Parallel Play: Life with Asperger's Syndrome".

Well worth a read, but alas, not available online.

-Josh

By Josh Hayes (not verified) on 20 Aug 2007 #permalink

Oh right, LOL, it was Mr. Raven, not Mr. T. I knew it looked funny, but could not figure out why. Mr. T must be vaguely related to "Spiderlover" in my mind... *mutter*

Anyway.

So you won't be using "Mr. Maritimus", then. I think I'm glad to know that.

By Ксения (not verified) on 02 Aug 2007 #permalink