Aspie Power?

I ended up reading the examples in the TV Tropes entry, “Too Dumb to Fool” and saw this at the end, under the real life category:

Asperger Syndrome sometimes results in this, since a lack of ability to read social cues means that attempts to diminish the appearance of deception aren’t picked up on. Notably, many are less susceptible to hypnosis of any form, due to having to interpret subtle signals consciously. A study that came out a few years ago (but seems to have vanished from search engines) found that people on the Autism Spectrum (including Asperger’s) were less vulnerable to certain kinds of emotional manipulation (specifically, they were less likely to change their decisions in game scenarios when a move was presented as “avoiding a loss” vs. a “gain”). The abstract of the paper seemed to be going to great length to frame their results in terms of “too dumb to fool” and ensure that no one mistook the traits they were describing for a strength, insistently describing subjects with Asperger’s at some length as “failing” to integrate certain kinds of (objectively and rationally irrelevant) information into the decision-making process.

I’ve mentioned it in a few comments on other blogs, but if you missed them, I’m a “high functioning” Aspie, diagnosed at age 30. I’m still at risk for self-deception like everyone else, but after the diagnosis, I’ve occasionally wondered if being atypical might have helped me in becoming a skeptic. It’s hard to make that determination with great confidence, since I don’t have a neurotypical twin to serve as a control.

Of course, I do think I should give most of the credit to my upbringing in a science-friendly family and my encounters with the skeptical community. That’s fertile ground for skeptical development, neurological oddities or not.

2 responses to “Aspie Power?

  1. Hi Bronze! Many of the adult autistics I know are like you, highly verbal, at least in writing. And many are atheists/agnostics, although I know several who are quite devout. So I’m leaning toward upbringing, rather than atypical neurology. Although it would be interesting to poll a skeptic convention such as TAM! for autism prevalence.

    The person who would probably know about the study referenced in the quote would be @autismcrisis, Michelle Dawson.

    An aside: I’ve decided to eliminate “high functioning” and “low functioning” from my vocabulary, as the functioning label has its own problems. But that’s a whole other conversation.

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