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Strong sense of observation (an Autistic trait?)

Sherlock77

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Driving a co-worker home from work today, I spotted a 1971 Lincoln behind a warehouse, made a brief comment about it...

That morphed into him telling me that he has noticed how I tend to pay attention to what's going on at work around me (ie. how I can help with something perhaps)

I have always known I have very strong observation skills, I talked about how photography has taught me that, but yet I also feel that I have a natural tendency to observe the world around me, anywhere I am... I think partially because I have always felt like an outsider, so I very much watch the world keenly, perhaps more than most people would

Nub of the conversation? He admired me for that, and wants to try to learn to do it better

I just wonder if this strong sense of observation is related to Autism itself?
 

1ForAll

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I can just say in my case I am extremely observant about everything. I feel it's for numerous reasons why I am this way:

---extreme attention to detail
---need to be one step ahead to prevent danger
---great listening skills
---great empathy
---perfectionism
---very keen other senses
---extreme thirst to learn
---analytical personality
---hyperfocus on nature, architecture and human psychology
 
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Misery

Photo-Negative
V.I.P Member
Generally, yeah, I'm like this as well to an extent.

Specifically my own talent in this area is the ability to mentally process an enormous number of things at once (usually used when gaming, and when driving), particularly when those things are moving. This happens to such an extent that if there isnt ENOUGH to process, I'll start to space out and get extra weird (and extra uncomfortable). That I can do this "heavy load processing" to the extent I do weirds people out sometimes.

Downside is I cant do the hyperfocus that many seem capable of. Just cant do it. Doesnt matter how important the task at hand is, I just cant manage that focus on JUST one thing at a time. It's one of the reasons I was never able to hold a job... you need to be able to specifically focus on tasks, and I just couldnt do it.

Is it an autistic tendency? I've always felt so... it aint exactly a trained skill, I didnt have to practice to do that, and I also cant turn it off.

I do wonder though, if maybe the specific types of things we tend to notice are going to vary quite a bit. Like, there's certain specific aspects that I'll *always* be tracking (angles of movement, for anything moving, is the big one) but other things that arent automatically tracked but that others with a trait of this type might focus a lot of their observation on (aesthetic elements of people, or maybe of cars, for instance, two things many might easily observe but which bounce off of me like a pinball).

And of course there's probably all sorts of ways that the overall concept manifests. My... er... "observation radius" is spread out as far as I can see/hear, and is sort of a "macro" thing (if that makes sense) whereas someone else may have a smaller, but far more dense radius... like the ability to look at something... say, a painting... and notice 10 bazillion very intricate details (so, "micro") that I would not, since mine doesnt function that way.

It's an interesting topic, I think. Not one I understand well, but interesting.
 

TheName

Well-Known Member
It's a curse for me sometimes. Sometimes I wish I haven't noticed, heard or seen. But Yes I would notice smallest detail happening around me, even if I don't see it, I can sense it somehow.
 

Outdated

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I'm the same. I was always far more aware than most of what's going on around me, in factory workplaces and on the roads. I'm not sure if it's related to autism but it is definitely a talent, not a skill. It can not be taught.

I have never been involved in a car accident while I was driving. There's plenty of times when I've left the road to avoid an accident. In fact, I believe that there is no such thing as an "accident". What there is is cases of "negligent behaviour resulting in harm" and that people that cause harm on the roads should lose their driver's licenses.

I worked with a girl who had 9 accidents, she said none of them were her fault, she'd only been driving for 18 months. First accident she should have lost her license for 3 months, second accident she should have lost her license for 6 months, she should have been permanently banned from driving well before she got up to 9 accidents.

I believe more than one third of people on the roads shouldn't be, but we have laws aimed at protecting insurance companies instead of protecting lives. Some people have no spatial awareness and should never be allowed to drive.
 

TheName

Well-Known Member
I'm the same. I was always far more aware than most of what's going on around me, in factory workplaces and on the roads. I'm not sure if it's related to autism but it is definitely a talent, not a skill. It can not be taught.

I have never been involved in a car accident while I was driving. There's plenty of times when I've left the road to avoid an accident. In fact, I believe that there is no such thing as an "accident". What there is is cases of "negligent behaviour resulting in harm" and that people that cause harm on the roads should lose their driver's licenses.

I worked with a girl who had 9 accidents, she said none of them were her fault, she'd only been driving for 18 months. First accident she should have lost her license for 3 months, second accident she should have lost her license for 6 months, she should have been permanently banned from driving well before she got up to 9 accidents.

I believe more than one third of people on the roads shouldn't be, but we have laws aimed at protecting insurance companies instead of protecting lives. Some people have no spatial awareness and should never be allowed to drive.
I pray for You pal. Driving and not getting involved in road accidents is like playing lottery ticket. There is no rule to it. One day You might get involved in car accident caused by Your 9 time lucky friend, and You Will be only able to say, it wasn't my fault.
 

Moogwizard

My mind is my own church
V.I.P Member
I am the same -I observe everything except what people are trying to tell me through speaking and body language.

I really notice if something is out of place .
 

Progster

Grown sideways to the sun
V.I.P Member
Same here. I tend to notice unusual things in nature when out for a walk, for example, and people have commented on it. A strange animal or fungus, an unusual rock.
 

SusanLR

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I notice little things that most people would never see, especially in nature.
Animals, birds, plants, rocks.
I see many things even while driving and others say they can't look at things
because they are driving.

I can't talk and drive. But I can listen to the radio and the words to the song
and not be distracted at all. I've never gotten a traffic ticket in my life.

Small details and patterns are easily noticed. And I do hyperfocus at times.
I've been told by psychologists that this IS an ASD trait.
 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
I notice tiny details in everything and I'm constantly hyper-aware of my surroundings.
For me, it's not really an ASD trait, but also a PTSD trait, because I'm constantly assessing the safety of everything and everyone around me.
I've been conditioned to turn around really quickly and be prepared to run if I hear footsteps, and to stay away from the door if someone knocks, until I know who it is. Sad, but it's helped me survive this long.
I'm really working hard in therapy to not be so distrustful of the world but it's hard when you spent your whole childhood watching your own back and relying on no one and being prepared to die.

Sorry, that wasn't meant to be so depressing but this is the reason I have a heightened sense of awareness and observation. It's not really ASD-related for me.
 

Tarkus

Member
Sorry struggling to understand. Please evaluate...
Humor is a complex issue I believe, I've always tried to understand it as it has big social value.

I've noticed that making really specific observations can be very funny (I get great reactions by people).

For instance (I'm making up a stupid example which may not be funny but it's for the sake of the explanation):

Let's suppose you are with a friend and see a random person with his glasses a bit crooked (which may not be obvious), you may say "Look at that person's glasses". That may be funny for your friend.
 
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TheName

Well-Known Member
Humor is a complex issue I believe, I've always tried to understand it as it has big social value.

I've noticed that making really specific observations can be very funny (I get great reactions by people).

For instance (I'm making up a stupid example which may not be funny but it's for the sake of the explanation):

Let's suppose you are with a friend and see a random person with his glasses a bit crooked (which may not be obvious), you may say "Look at that person's glasses". That may be funny for your friend.
I got You. You like to make funny remarks on little things You have spotted.
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It is for me. Whether it be a work picking up on all the subtle nuances of flow, pressure, and volume curves and loops on the mechanical ventilator graphics monitors, to breathing pattern aberrations of a premature baby,...tiny paint imperfections on the cars,...spots or bugs on my plants,...predicting traffic behaviors while driving,...tiny critters hiding out in nature,...a lot of things that most people wouldn't and often don't pay attention to,...I seem to observe and react to.
 

Crossbreed

Neur-D Missionary ☝️
V.I.P Member
I seem to be hyper-observant of three types of phenomena,
  1. things related to any of my special interests,
  2. things that help me or someone else move forward in a project &
  3. things that are out of the ordinary.
I am pretty oblivious to everything else.

#3 would include objects, sounds & smells that seem out of place. I can sometimes pull up more details if I must recall something.
 

merithra

Merithra of the Dream
I always observe things, I look behind every few seconds when I am walking on a sidewalk, I pay close attention to my environment when I am travelling and when I notice something is odd I can't stop fixating on it, for example, the stack of books on my shelf is in a disproportionate order (mine are small to big) and one book will be in the wrong order, my shelf is barely visible from my bed or my desk but I always pay attention to small things like that.
 

Mr. Stevens

Active Member
I always observe things, I look behind every few seconds when I am walking on a sidewalk, I pay close attention to my environment when I am travelling and when I notice something is odd I can't stop fixating on it, for example, the stack of books on my shelf is in a disproportionate order (mine are small to big) and one book will be in the wrong order, my shelf is barely visible from my bed or my desk but I always pay attention to small things like that.
I relate to this. I've always found a lot of meaning in small details, and I imagine many (all?) Autistic people do the same.

For example, two cars identical in model, but not color. Each seems to have their own personality, meaning, and emotion. A small dent on one would also change its meaning--its character--for me. I think most people would just ignore this detail.
 

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