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As and the interbrain

As and the interbrain



The most recent version of this talk, this one given at the 2011 National Autistic Society's professional conference

The most recent version of this talk, this one given at the 2011 National Autistic Society's professional conference



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  • In this photo montage of actual quantum images, two laser beams coming from the bright glare in the distance transmit images of a cat-like face at two slightly different frequencies (represented by the orange and the purple colors). The twisted lines indicate that the seemingly random changes or fluctuations that occur over time in any part of the orange image are strongly interconnected or "entangled" with the fluctuations of the corresponding part in the purple image. Though false color has been added to the cats' faces, they are otherwise actual images obtained in the experiment. To create quantum images, the researchers use a simple yet powerful method known as "four-wave mixing," a technique in which incoming light waves enter a gas and interact to produce outgoing light waves. In the setup, a faint "probe" beam passes through a stencil-like "mask" with a visual pattern. Imprinted with an image, the probe beam joins an intense "pump" beam inside a cell of rubidium gas. The atoms of the gas interact with the light, absorbing energy and re-emitting an amplified version of the original image. In addition, a complementary second image is created by the light emitted by the atoms. To satisfy nature's requirement for the set of outgoing light beams to have the same energy and momentum as the set of incoming light beams, the second image comes out as an inverted, upside-down copy of the first image, rotated by 180 degrees with respect to the pump beam and at a slightly different color
  • News and Views: Geomicrobiology: Sediment reactions defy dogmaRedox reactions in widely spatially separated layers of marine sediments are coupled to each other. This suggests that bacteria mediate the flow of electrons between the layers — an idea that would previously have been dismissed.Kenneth H. Nealsondoi:10.1038/4631033aFull Text | PDF (1,451K)Letter: Electric currents couple spatially separated biogeochemical processes in marine sedimentLars Peter Nielsen, Nils Risgaard-Petersen, HenrikFossing, Peter Bondo Christensen & MikioSayamadoi:10.1038/nature08790First paragraph | Full Text | PDF (244K)
  • Lev Vygotsky with daughter: inner speech guides action. Inner speech is one way of understanding theory of mind: what a person would say if they were there. May be particularly absent in ADHD
  • People with ASD tend to see trees for wood, and may be more field independent
  • Replication of Asch experiment
  • Thomas Hobbes the social contract

As and the interbrain As and the interbrain Presentation Transcript

  • Asperger syndrome and the interbrain
    Digby Tantam
    Clinical Professor of Psychotherapy, University of Sheffield
  • Quantum entanglementBoyer V, Marino AM, Pooser RC, Lett PD. Entangled Images from Four-Wave Mixing. Science. 2008 July 25, 2008;321(5888):544-7.
  • Invisible connections
  • Separated sediment layers of marine bacteria communicate electronicallyNealson KH. Geomicrobiology: Sediment reactions defy dogma. Nature. [10.1038/4631033a]. 2010;463(7284):1033-4.
  • Invisible connections
  •  Seagulls fall asleep and wake together in the Bay of FundyBeauchamp et al. Sleeping gulls monitor the vigilance behaviour of their neighbours. Biology Letters, 2009; 5 (1): 9 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0490
  • Invisible connections
  • An idea whose time has come?
  • Slime mould Physarumpolycephalum metamorphosing from unicellular amoeba to multi-celled sporangiophorein response to starvation
  • Hunyuan hanging temple, Mt. Hengshan, Shanxi
  • Which is the organism?
  •  Ian Couzin (icouzin.princeton.edu)
    Short-range repulsive behaviour
    Intermediate range desire to align with neighbours
    and a long-range attraction to the group as a whole

  • Neurons are linked by electrical impulses and chemicals into a network
    Our brains can be linked to other brains the way that one computer can be linked to another via the internet
    These links are the nonverbal communications that pass between us, principally consisting of imitation and of gaze following
    Imitation and gaze following are automatically initiated by local brain networks apparently specialized for this
  • SchurmannM, Hesse MD, Stephan KE, Saarela M, Zilles K, Hari R, et al. Yearning to yawn: the neural basis of contagious yawning. Neuroimage. [doi: DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.10.022]. 2005;24(4):1260-4.
  • The interbrain
    • Extended cognition
    • Automatic processing
    • Reflexive vs. reflective processing
    • ‘The borg’
    Jerry Ryan, 7 of 9 StarTrek
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • On sale here
  • Themes in adulthood Ryan, S,Räisänen, U "It's like you are just a spectator in this thing": Experiencing social life the [`]aspie' way. Emotion, Space and Society 2008; 1: 135-43.
    feeling different
    trying to fit in
    safe spaces 
    uncommon sense
  • Feeling different
    Being disconnected from the interbrain
  • Contributors
    Aston Bullying Project
    Paul Naylor
    Jeremy Dawson
    Eric Emerson
    Laura Vazquez
    Sheffield survey
    Myles Balfe
    Ting Chen
    Mike Campbell
    Sheffield Bullying project
    Paul Naylor
    Jenny Wainscot
    Jenna Williams
    15 medical students
    Parents, teachers, and people with Asperger syndrome
    Sheffield Asperger Parents Action Group
  • Project Development
  • Green et al compared 20 adolescent men with AS with 20 with conduct problems
    AS group
    Severely impaired practical social functioning
    Both groups had
    Suicidal ideation
    Tempers and defiance
  • Outstanding areas for concern: Sheffield survey
    Reduction of available support in adulthood
    Lack of paid work (36%, 6% of whom supported)
    Lack of independence
    60% living with parents
    21% living independently
    56% thought they could be more independent with support
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • Emotional problems in adolescents and adults with Asperger syndrome(findings from Sheffield survey)
    Self-harm: thoughts 50%, actual 11%
    Violence: threats 83%, actual 34%
    Bullied 90%, 30% currently (includes adults)
    Majority have anxiety-related disorder
  • ‘There is a view of life which conceives that where the crowd is, there is also the truth, and that in truth itself there is need of having the crowd on its side. There is another view of life which conceives that wherever there is a crowd there is untruth, so that (to consider for a moment the extreme case), even if every individual, each for himself in private, were to be in possession of the truth, yet in case they were all to get together in a crowd - a crowd to which any decisive significance is attributed, a voting, noisy, audible crowd - untruth would at once be in evidence’ (Kierkegaard, 1846; Dedication).
    The viewpoint of mind
    Modum Bad
  • 24 November 2009
    Brookdale care conference, London
    “l’hommeestnélibre, et partoutilestdans les fers. J.-J. Rousseau
  • Is it better not to be so connected to the interbrain?
    Fewer informational viruses
    Understand machines in their own right not as defective people
    Fairness is not prejudiced by sympathy
    Not in chains
  • Trying to fit in
    Many other educational obstacles, plus emotional difficulties
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • Atypical Asperger syndrome
    Associated developmental disordersPredominantly fronto-striatal or fronto-cerebellar
    Dysexecutive syndrome (planning)
    Dyslexia (writing and spelling)
    Attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (impulsivity, executive functions, task persistence)
    Also links with
    Tourette syndrome
    Expressive speech and language disorder (may lead to elective mutism)
    Topographical disorientation
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • Atypical Asperger syndrome
    Primary abnormality is lack of empathy, partly due to failure of non-verbal interpretation (‘face blindness’)
    Ability to make relationships but not to keep them
    Lack of empathy may lead to antisocial behaviour, but greater problem is lack of persuasiveness and ‘social influencing power’
    Picture on left from Pelphrey et al, 2002 and on right from the film, “Ripley’s game” starring Matt Damon as Ripley
    24 November 2009
  • Knowing about the world using non-verbal cues
    Who is being shot?
    Terrorists or partisans?
  • Why is that woman so fat?
  • Coping with a lack of identity
    ‘Obsessive’ relationships
    Lack of identity in many people with ASD
    Adopting identity wholesale
    Joining charismatic groups
    Moving places and work
    Searching for identity
    Identities off the peg
    Teddy bear
    21 Mar 08
    Advances in research and management of AS
  • Atypical AS
    ‘Look normal’, because normal NVE. Do not seem like ‘Aspies’
    Form friendships but they do not last
    May have many hidden learning difficulties e.g. lack of speech understanding, reduced working memory
    Vulnerable adults
    Lack of empathy leads to a lack of persuasiveness
    This may lead to unassertiveness or exploitation
    Coercive interpersonal strategies, possibly more likely if associated ADHD
    Drug misuse, violence, other forensic issues
    Impulsivity may alternate with compulsivity
    May seek an identity as adults, and like special interests in other people with AS, may embrace or drop one ruthlessly.
    Modelling on others may be even more marked
  • Telling the truth vs. knowing the truth
  • Implications for witness statements
    People with AS do see the trees for the wood
    And may reliably apply a correspondence theory of truth
    But they may not have a narrative theory
    Bruck, M., K. London, et al. (2007). "Autobiographical memory and suggestibility in children with autism spectrum disorder." Dev.Psychopathol.19(1): 73-95; AS McCrory, E., L. A. Henry, et al. (2007). "Eye-witness memory and suggestibility in children with Asperger syndrome. [Article]." Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry48(5): 482-489..
    As witnesses they may correctly memorize and reports facts
    may not report the story of what happened, including the intentions of or provocations to the the actors
    This may limit the value of their evidence
    It may also go against them when they witness to their own defence
    When people with AS report intentions, one should consider external influence
    Questions should focus on facts and not interpretation
  • Group Independence (or its lack among medical students)
  • Other contributors to inconsequentiality
    Lack of emotional empathy
    Neurotypicals are united, and do not deserve empathy
    Can any of these factors increase lying?
    Lack of a shared social contract
    Lack of social influencing power
  • Safe spaces
    Bullying and exclusion at and from school begin a process of narrowing the number of safe spaces
  • Consequences of bullying
    Passive failure to be included
    Reduced use of community resources (social exclusion)
    Experience of being unwanted/marginalized
    Active rejection , blaming, scapegoating
    Stigma as a means of keeping threatening Other at a distance
    Painted Bird by Edward Gafford, inspired by the novel ‘Painted Bird’ by JerzyKosiński, itself based on what has been claimed is a fictive war-time experience of the author in Poland
  • Who bullies and why? Evidence is limited, but
    On behalf of a social group
    Bullies are highly regarded, but not popular
    Bullies’ in-group status may be tenuous
    Victims are different
    Victims may be more aggressive than non-victims, and are perceived, perhaps as more threatening
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • A particularly wide ranging tool kit
    Readiness to consider the most intense emotional issues and in the next moment, the most practical and cognitive ones
    Having a clear grasp of the individual in front of you, not just in life experience, or temperament, but in cognitive abilities
    Be aware of shame and shaming
    The limitless potential of social control by shaming
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • Does social exclusion lead to functional movement impairment
    Is there a difference in the amount of physical activity of pupils with AS compared to others?
    Mean number of steps per hour: AS group = 902, control group = 1312 (t = -2.645, p = .027)
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • 24 November 2009
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • Where were people with AS in Sheffield?
    Most living at home, even above 30.
    Most had difficulties coping with changes in everyday environments
    Difficulties moving between places (for example using public transport)
    Most common places frequented were libraries and cinemas
    Brookdale care conference, London
  • Uncommon sense
    Is the person with AS king of the cyber world?
  • Leaders pay attention to the environment
    Followers (‘social individuals’) pay attention to the group, and so join the group following a leader
    There are proportionately fewer leaders in larger migratory groups
  • Is Asperger syndrome the future?
    Owen Thor Walker apointed to TelstraClear, who previously wrote code enabling a hacker group to steal £13.9M from bank accounts
    Bram Cohen, founder BitTorrent, and self diagnosed Aspie
  • THE END—thanks for listening
    Don’t forget slides can be found at www.dilemmaconsultancy.org