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As and the interbrain


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

Published in: Health & Medicine
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As and the interbrain

  1. 1. Asperger syndrome and the interbrain<br />Digby Tantam<br />Clinical Professor of Psychotherapy, University of Sheffield<br />
  2. 2. Quantum entanglementBoyer V, Marino AM, Pooser RC, Lett PD. Entangled Images from Four-Wave Mixing. Science. 2008 July 25, 2008;321(5888):544-7.<br />
  3. 3. Invisible connections<br />
  4. 4. Separated sediment layers of marine bacteria communicate electronicallyNealson KH. Geomicrobiology: Sediment reactions defy dogma. Nature. [10.1038/4631033a]. 2010;463(7284):1033-4. <br />
  5. 5. Invisible connections<br />
  6. 6.  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<br />
  7. 7.
  8. 8. Invisible connections<br />
  9. 9. An idea whose time has come?<br />
  10. 10. Slime mould Physarumpolycephalum metamorphosing from unicellular amoeba to multi-celled sporangiophorein response to starvation<br />
  11. 11.
  12. 12. Hunyuan hanging temple, Mt. Hengshan, Shanxi<br />
  13. 13. Which is the organism?<br />
  14. 14.  Ian Couzin (<br />Short-range repulsive behaviour <br />Intermediate range desire to align with neighbours <br />and a long-range attraction to the group as a whole <br />NT<br />ASD<br />✔<br />✔<br />✖<br />✔<br />✖<br />✔<br />
  15. 15.
  16. 16. Neurons are linked by electrical impulses and chemicals into a network<br />Our brains can be linked to other brains the way that one computer can be linked to another via the internet<br />These links are the nonverbal communications that pass between us, principally consisting of imitation and of gaze following<br />Imitation and gaze following are automatically initiated by local brain networks apparently specialized for this<br />
  17. 17. 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.<br />
  18. 18. The interbrain<br /><ul><li>Extended cognition
  19. 19. Automatic processing
  20. 20. Reflexive vs. reflective processing
  21. 21. ‘The borg’</li></ul>Jerry Ryan, 7 of 9 StarTrek<br />Neurotypical<br />Aspie<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  22. 22. On sale here<br />
  23. 23. 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.<br />feeling different<br />trying to fit in<br />safe spaces  <br />uncommon sense<br />
  24. 24. Feeling different<br />Being disconnected from the interbrain<br />
  25. 25. Contributors<br />Aston Bullying Project<br />Paul Naylor<br />Jeremy Dawson<br />Eric Emerson<br />Laura Vazquez<br />Sheffield survey<br />Myles Balfe<br />Ting Chen<br />Mike Campbell<br />Sheffield Bullying project<br />Paul Naylor<br />Jenny Wainscot<br />Jenna Williams<br />15 medical students<br />Parents, teachers, and people with Asperger syndrome<br />Sheffield Asperger Parents Action Group<br />
  26. 26. Project Development<br />23<br />
  27. 27. Green et al compared 20 adolescent men with AS with 20 with conduct problems<br />AS group<br />Severely impaired practical social functioning <br />Anxiety<br />Obsessionaldisorders<br />Both groups had<br />Depression<br />Suicidal ideation<br />Tempers and defiance<br />
  28. 28. Outstanding areas for concern: Sheffield survey<br />Reduction of available support in adulthood<br />Lack of paid work (36%, 6% of whom supported)<br />Lack of independence<br />60% living with parents<br />21% living independently<br />56% thought they could be more independent with support<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  29. 29. Emotional problems in adolescents and adults with Asperger syndrome(findings from Sheffield survey)<br />Self-harm: thoughts 50%, actual 11%<br />Violence: threats 83%, actual 34%<br />Bullied 90%, 30% currently (includes adults)<br />Majority have anxiety-related disorder<br />
  30. 30. ‘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).<br />The viewpoint of mind<br />2/28/11<br />Modum Bad<br />27<br />
  31. 31. 24 November 2009<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />“l’hommeestnélibre, et partoutilestdans les fers. J.-J. Rousseau<br />
  32. 32. Is it better not to be so connected to the interbrain?<br />Fewer informational viruses<br />Understand machines in their own right not as defective people<br />Fairness is not prejudiced by sympathy<br />Not in chains<br />
  33. 33. Trying to fit in<br />Many other educational obstacles, plus emotional difficulties<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  34. 34. Atypical Asperger syndrome<br />Associated developmental disordersPredominantly fronto-striatal or fronto-cerebellar<br />Dysexecutive syndrome (planning)<br />Dyslexia (writing and spelling)<br />Attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (impulsivity, executive functions, task persistence)<br />Also links with<br />Tourette syndrome<br />Expressive speech and language disorder (may lead to elective mutism)<br />Dysgraphia<br />Dyscalculia<br />Topographical disorientation<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  35. 35. Atypical Asperger syndrome <br />Primary abnormality is lack of empathy, partly due to failure of non-verbal interpretation (‘face blindness’)<br />Ability to make relationships but not to keep them<br />Lack of empathy may lead to antisocial behaviour, but greater problem is lack of persuasiveness and ‘social influencing power’<br />Picture on left from Pelphrey et al, 2002 and on right from the film, “Ripley’s game” starring Matt Damon as Ripley<br />24 November 2009<br />
  36. 36. Knowing about the world using non-verbal cues<br />Who is being shot? <br />Terrorists or partisans?<br />
  37. 37. Why is that woman so fat?<br />34<br />
  38. 38. Coping with a lack of identity<br />Fads<br />‘Obsessive’ relationships<br />Lack of identity in many people with ASD<br />Adopting identity wholesale<br />Joining charismatic groups<br />Moving places and work<br />Searching for identity<br />‘Transexualism’<br />‘Aspie’<br />Identities off the peg<br />Gangster<br />Professor<br />Teddy bear<br />21 Mar 08<br />Advances in research and management of AS<br />
  39. 39. Atypical AS<br />‘Look normal’, because normal NVE. Do not seem like ‘Aspies’<br />Form friendships but they do not last<br />May have many hidden learning difficulties e.g. lack of speech understanding, reduced working memory<br />Vulnerable adults<br />Lack of empathy leads to a lack of persuasiveness<br />This may lead to unassertiveness or exploitation<br />Coercive interpersonal strategies, possibly more likely if associated ADHD<br />Drug misuse, violence, other forensic issues<br />Impulsivity may alternate with compulsivity<br />May seek an identity as adults, and like special interests in other people with AS, may embrace or drop one ruthlessly.<br />Modelling on others may be even more marked<br />
  40. 40.
  41. 41. Telling the truth vs. knowing the truth<br />Narrative<br />38<br />
  42. 42. Implications for witness statements<br />People with AS do see the trees for the wood<br />And may reliably apply a correspondence theory of truth<br />But they may not have a narrative theory <br />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..<br />As witnesses they may correctly memorize and reports facts<br />may not report the story of what happened, including the intentions of or provocations to the the actors<br />This may limit the value of their evidence<br />It may also go against them when they witness to their own defence<br />When people with AS report intentions, one should consider external influence<br />Questions should focus on facts and not interpretation<br /><br />39<br />
  43. 43. Group Independence (or its lack among medical students)<br /><br />40<br />
  44. 44. Other contributors to inconsequentiality<br />Lack of emotional empathy<br />Neurotypicals are united, and do not deserve empathy<br />Uproar<br />Can any of these factors increase lying?<br />Lack of a shared social contract<br />Lack of social influencing power<br /><br />41<br />
  45. 45. Safe spaces<br />Bullying and exclusion at and from school begin a process of narrowing the number of safe spaces<br />
  46. 46. Consequences of bullying<br />Passive failure to be included<br />Reduced use of community resources (social exclusion)<br />Experience of being unwanted/marginalized<br />Active rejection , blaming, scapegoating<br />Stigma as a means of keeping threatening Other at a distance<br />Bullying<br />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 <br />
  47. 47. Who bullies and why? Evidence is limited, but<br />On behalf of a social group<br />Bullies are highly regarded, but not popular<br />Bullies’ in-group status may be tenuous<br />Victims are different<br />Victims may be more aggressive than non-victims, and are perceived, perhaps as more threatening<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  48. 48. A particularly wide ranging tool kit<br />Readiness to consider the most intense emotional issues and in the next moment, the most practical and cognitive ones<br />Having a clear grasp of the individual in front of you, not just in life experience, or temperament, but in cognitive abilities<br />Be aware of shame and shaming<br />The limitless potential of social control by shaming<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  49. 49.
  50. 50. Does social exclusion lead to functional movement impairment<br /> Is there a difference in the amount of physical activity of pupils with AS compared to others?<br />Mean number of steps per hour: AS group = 902, control group = 1312 (t = -2.645, p = .027)<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  51. 51. 24 November 2009<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  52. 52. Where were people with AS in Sheffield?<br />Most living at home, even above 30.<br />Most had difficulties coping with changes in everyday environments<br />Difficulties moving between places (for example using public transport)<br />Most common places frequented were libraries and cinemas<br />Brookdale care conference, London<br />
  53. 53. Uncommon sense<br />Is the person with AS king of the cyber world?<br />
  54. 54. Leaders pay attention to the environment<br />Followers (‘social individuals’) pay attention to the group, and so join the group following a leader<br />There are proportionately fewer leaders in larger migratory groups<br /><br />
  55. 55. Is Asperger syndrome the future?<br />Owen Thor Walker apointed to TelstraClear, who previously wrote code enabling a hacker group to steal £13.9M from bank accounts<br />Bram Cohen, founder BitTorrent, and self diagnosed Aspie<br />
  56. 56. THE END—thanks for listening<br />Don’t forget slides can be found at<br />