there was a study published in current biology the other day showing that, unlike “neurotypical” kids, autistic kids don’t overimitate after being shown how to do something. from a popular report @livescience:
“When imitating the behavior of an adult, children with the developmental disorder autism tend to skip ‘silly,’ unnecessary actions, while those without autism tend to copy everything they see, silly or not, a new study suggests.
“The study involved 31 children with an autism spectrum disorder, and 30 typically developing kids without autism. All the children were asked to watch as an adult showed how to remove a toy (a rubber duck) from a closed Tupperware container. Some of the steps performed were necessary, such as unclipping the lid of the box and taking the lid off, while some were unnecessary, such as tapping the lid twice. The children were then given the container, and asked to get the toy out as fast as they could.
“Kids without autism were much more likely to copy the unnecessary steps, even though the children were not specifically instructed to copy everything the adult did. About 43 to 57 percent of kids without autism copied the unnecessary steps, compared with 22 percent of kids with autism….”
the researcher who conducted the study suggests that: “children with autism do things efficiently rather than socially, whereas typical children do things socially rather than efficiently” [my emphasis].
humans are social creatures. in an extreme sort of way (see: the great civilizations). and our sociality has enabled us to do some fantastic things. but it also makes too many humans thick as planks because most humans really, really, really want to follow and belong to the group. whatever the cost (i.e. even if it means being dumber than a chimp).
and woe to those who don’t play along:
“Over the past few months, across various social media platforms, and also from the mouths of some of our own bloggers, I have listened to a sustained critique of Kanazawa’s presence on Big Think….
“What I hope results from this experience is what educators call a ‘teachable moment.’ We certainly believe in the value of free speech at Big Think, and give voice to controversial thinkers whose opinions tend to span the political spectrum and often challenge the sacred cows of their respective fields…. However, in providing a platform for dangerous ideas, we also run the risk of overreaching and losing the goodwill of our most dedicated readers. Our commitment is first, and always, to you, and to maintaining your trust…”
…’cause we wouldn’t want you to stop LIKING us and exclude us from the in crowd! heavens, no.
what a bunch of … little thinkers! but that’s all most people are capable of, because most people are social, and social belonging trumps all. like i said over here, it really is us contrarians who require explaining because we are the exceptions to the rule!
jared taylor (quoted by john derbyshire) said recently: “Most people are incapable of holding an unfashionable opinion.”
(btw, i’m not saying that all contrarians are on the autistic spectrum … but i think a h*ckuva lot of them probably are!)
(note: comments do not require an email. neurotypical personality disorder [<<joke alert!].)