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Theory Finds That Individuals With Aspergers Don't Lack Empathy...

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Sindri, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. Sindri

    Sindri frangipani...frangipani...

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  2. unsurewhattoname

    unsurewhattoname Well-Known Member

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    What if I'm not like this? Because I've never been empathetic. I can't tell what others are feeling. And I don't want to interact with them all, I'm introverted not extroverted. I'm pretty much the opposite of this.
     
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  3. Sindri

    Sindri frangipani...frangipani...

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    I don't think it matters one way or the other, but I'm sure there are many here who will resonate with this. And it definitely does for me, very strongly. We all know that all aspies are different. :)
     
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  4. Sindri

    Sindri frangipani...frangipani...

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    Also, you don't have to know what others are feeling to be empathetic. Someone can tell you what they are feeling, and you can hone in on that. I've taught myself to do that better over the years.
     
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  5. Beverly

    Beverly Euthanasia Redux V.I.P Member

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    I can relate but, I also think the authors of that article have confused empathy and compassion to a degree. I know I am very empathic, but that does not mean I am empathetic. I can feel what anyone is feeling, as the whether I can process that and relate it to myself enough to feel empathy for a person, that depends on if I have had a similar experience or not.

    Say someone is sad because their pet died. I do know what sad feels like, however I do not feel sad when one of my pets dies. I gave them the best life I could, it was their time to go, nothing to be sad about, I knew they would not outlive me when I got them so why be sad when exactly what I expected to happen did happen? So I can't empathize with that person, to me they are being foolish for allowing themselves to feel sad over something they should have foreseen the day they got that pet.
     
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  6. Naturalist

    Naturalist Well-Known Member

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    I am often strongly affected by the emotions of others, but often my own reactions to those emotions are quite different to what the other person is experiencing. For example, if someone is angry I pick up on the negativity and my own emotion might be panic. Or if someone is excited about something, the positive energy might make me feel relaxed or curious. But it also depends on the context. Recently, a girl I didn't know was very excited about something, and was talking very fast and very loudly in a squeaky voice, and I couldn't relax enough to eat my meal. I wanted to clobber her over the head with a plate. And sometimes, I feel no emotion at all when others do, or feel strong emotion when no one else sees any reason to react emotionally.

    I am reminded of a description in Tony Attwood's book, that Aspies feel emotion "too much or too little"...often the wrong timing, too.
     
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  7. OrSomething

    OrSomething Champion Lurker

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    I like this article. Everyone with AS is different. Some have trouble with empathy; some feel it too much. And like Beverly said, empathy isn't the same as compassion. You can have trouble picking up on people's feelings, but really care about them, once you know what they are feeling. The stereotype that we are emotionless robots is so untrue. I agree with what Naturalist said--we tend to feel emotion too much or too little.
     
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  8. hyperreal

    hyperreal New Member

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    For one, the article is from a site that is by no means an authority on scientific news. It seems more like a site that posts pseudo-scientific articles. Secondly, just for technicality's sake, I will say that theories themselves don't "find" anything. A theory is not evidence. Experiments find things, not theories.

    With that said, I agree that people with Asperger's can empathize emotionally; but whether they can do so more than neurotypicals remains to be proven. Whether they empathize "too much" also remains to be proven. Perhaps a good way to experiment with this is to use fMRI/MRI scanning to detect brain activity associated with emotional empathy while the person with ASD watches a video of someone experiencing some kind of misfortune that causes them emotional pain.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
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  9. LeroyT1000

    LeroyT1000 Active Member

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    I can watch TV and something triggers something that I can relate to and I shed a few tears in private. However, a client can come for a session and tell me about her mother getting cancer and I know how to respond and do so but I don't feel anything. I agree the timing of my compassion or empathy is well out of sync with the rest of the world. I've also had pets pass away and I was more focused on getting a replacement than wasting time grieving over it. It's frustrating because I wish I had an outpouring of compassion and love for things but I dont which I guess is sad.
     
  10. Nitro

    Nitro Admin/Immoral Turpitude Staff Member Admin V.I.P Member

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    When are you all going to wake up and realize that psychology is an area fraught with nothing more than educated guesses?
     
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  11. Sindri

    Sindri frangipani...frangipani...

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    Definitely agree with that!! Ideas and even facts in psych change so often, or are dismissed altogether. It doesn't really seem that the site is very credible, but at the same time, I have heard many aspies say these very same things. So it's at least based in truth.
     
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  12. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    One can have empathy, but not necessarily be capable of visually projecting it in a way most Neurotypicals can identify with. Personally I see this dynamic as indicative of most of this equation.

    In essence, I may not show what I'm thinking, but it doesn't negate that I AM thinking. It's not complicated IMO.
     
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  13. shinkansen

    shinkansen Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.

    My diagnosed scored me with an empathy quotient. 80/80 complete empathy. 30/80 and below is the cut off for diagnosis. I scored 16/80. And others often tell me that I lack empathy.

    So I am unable to empathise. I do not understand empathy. I do know what if feels like to have empathy. So I do not know what's missing. For the most part, I don't see this as a problem or an issue.
     
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  14. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I can relate to the idea. I have regularly experienced strong empathetic feelings. But its hard to quantify. What do NTs experience when walking into a room of people for example as compared to me? And how similar is what I experience to other ASD folks.

    It would be good to see actual data from experiments.
     
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  15. Linika Par

    Linika Par Member

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    I like to refer to myself to the perfect audience. When watching a film, if there is an really emotional moment I will have a equal reaction to it, even if the film is bad! I don't know if that is my empathy or if I am easily influenced by movie magic so to speak.

    Otherwise I can't always emphasized with my friend having certain emotion if I do not feel they are valid. But when a friend of mine was told her grandma had cancer, she choose to talk to me about, weather empathy or sympathy or compassion (or all) was in play, I don't know. But by listening and repeating what she said back to her in a different way, she felt a lot better. Which makes me feel good, so goodness all around!

    But yeah now I am wondering if this even is relevant to this thread.... Hmmmmm.

    I think it is interesting and I have definitely been accused of feeling to much, especially (TMI) when on my period; I will resonate with any emotion around me and start crying or jumping for joy etc. and switch! I usually try to stay home alone when this happens, it is simply to much.
     
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  16. unsurewhattoname

    unsurewhattoname Well-Known Member

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    Have problems with that too as I don't know how I feel either. Both parts seem to be lacking.
     
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  17. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It almost seems like there are hot & cold aspies but few in the middle (NT) when it comes to empathy or perhaps even emotions in general.
     
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  18. karen70

    karen70 Well-Known Member

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    Its quite mad for me to read these comments and see such a varied response.

    At my very first class in college (personal development) we were asked to share why we had applied for the course and what we hoped to gain...

    My response was 'do I care?, I don't know, but I'm here to find out'.

    I got very odd looks... this was in the first hour of what went on to be a 2 year course.

    Example.... (and this is real)... A partner wanted me to go into the chapel of rest with him and his family to say their farewell to the 'grandad'. I didn't know him. But the partner wanted me to hold his hand. I felt awkward. Everyone was crying and I was just thinking along the lines of 'get me out of here' but I was kind of stuck.. Then I was totally shot down in a slanging match by the partner because I DIDN'T CRY.

    This made me angry, but then guilty (as I clearly wasn't seen as normal) but then I felt resentment.

    My feelings are just too much to bare, they're painful and I internalise pretty much everything.
     
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  19. Nacho

    Nacho Well-Known Member

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    I don't think any sympathetic with people; but with animals, it's a different thing. Every time I see a hurt animal or an animal that is suffering, it feels like I've been stabbed. Doesn't matter if it's a video, or I see a dead bird in a highway, a snake, a crow, or whichever type you can think of.
     
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