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Author Topic: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?  (Read 1242 times)

Morituri

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Religion.  WTF?

Monogamy.  At first I thought it was just not being willing to work hard enough on relationship communication, but it's more than that.

Clothes.  Even when not needed for protection.  And they even care what *other* people are wearing.  I have memorized rules and follow them, but don't understand why they're important.

Ignoring their sense of smell.   I absolutely have no clue why they do this.

Greed, as applied to pure abstractions.  That makes no sense.

Caring about numbers but not bothering to learn math.  That also makes no sense.

Blindness to any Information not presented as a picture.  In extreme cases they will interrupt to bring me the same information we got last week but this time in a pretty graphic.  Here's the problem with that.  I know, by now, that coming up with this graph means *they* have done the work to understand the information, and that is a good thing.  But the graphic itself is useless to me.  I can't communicate that without seeming to tell them they've been wasting their time, which they're going to take as a personal insult so I just have no idea what to say to them.

Conversely, inability to understand that important information is left OUT of the 'picture' they got.  The map they think is so much more intuitive and informative, but that doesn't have the street names, is useless to the way I find my way around a city.

Imputing meanings that are not what people actually said.  Especially if it allows them to avoid ambiguity or avoid acknowledging the need for more information to decide something.  And especially if by imputing some different meaning they can make it about themselves.

Don't see the inherent problem in being unable to tell whether something is right or wrong without knowing who did it.

Don't get how concentration works, and think a five-second interruption every ten minutes will only cost five seconds worth of work.

Always give the same advice for any problem.  And the advice is basically, 'make your brain stop working that way and work this way instead.'  Good luck with that.

I'm sure others will have many, many more additions to the list. 
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JoeCovenant

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I'd probably class myself as neurotypical -

...but I can't get over the whole "OOO! A Graph!" thing! They are fine for some things, but complex info...!?!?
Generally not. (That said - I've been guilty of using 'em as such when basic info is to be seen by a WIDE range of people...)

Ignoring sense of smell...? I don't get that one at all. (Is that a thing?)
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Covenant
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I'd call myself somewhat neurotypical, just going through the list with my own thoughts .

Religion - I can't really speak about this as I'm a 25 year lapsed Catholic and my own feelings on the subject are incredibly mixed. I suppose going back to an older generation, religion offered a sense of stability, but then again, I still remember being in school and kids being forced to write with their right hand.

Monogamy - I can't speak for everyone, but its not a case of "I'm incapable of willing to work on communication", but rather "Hey, here's someone who fascinates me, who inspires me to make myself a better person. My life is better for them being in it and I really want to work on that." That's me. I know that there are other people with their own thoughts on monogamy who can explain it better than I can and there are people in poly relationships who can explain why monogamy wasn't for them.

The sense of smell - I presume you mean being caught in public transport or in an office and you just smell someone who just...stinks. You want to say something, but then again, you don't know the circumstances - Were they in a rush this morning and they didn't have time to wash? Do they have a medical condition? Is there a problem in their personal life? They're probably embarrassed enough as it is, they probably don't want me bringing it to their attention or everyone else's attention.

Clothes have meaning. But its also about projecting an image about yourself, kind of crafting the ideal version of yourself.

Greed isn't a neurotypical trait, some people just want to have everything and nothing is ever enough.

Maths is a problem for a lot of people. I did applied science in college, but Maths? Goes right over my head. But you get me a paper about biology or chemistry and I'll have that information devoured.

Information presented as a graph - I've worked in advertising, tourism and some other sectors of business. When someone asks for a graph, what they're telling you isn't "I can't process this block of text", they're telling you "I only have a few seconds available to look at this information." You might spend a couple of hours correlating data, but they might have seconds between meetings or they have to present a lot of information to others and not a lot of time to do so.

Information out of the picture? The brain can fill in the gaps, making what seems to it logical jumps. If I'm told that I have a meeting at Church Street, but the map doesn't have Church Street on there, I'm still going to infer that going by its name, it should logically be near a Church. And sometimes its fun to fill in the gaps ourselves.

Right or wrong - Nothing is ever right or wrong, nor is it black and white. There will always be shades of grey in what we do. Someone can do something wrong but for the right reason and vice versa. I'm not saying everything has to boil down to whether something is right or wrong, but rather the distinction is understanding why and how.

Advice for problems - Its not always "change how your brain thinks", its just it can be difficult to give meaningful advice when someone doesn't give you all the information about a problem. It comes down to communication and the fact that advice needs to be a two way street between two people.
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Morituri

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I know "right" and "wrong" are not absolutes, in that a lot of actions are done for decent reasons and a lot of things have both good and bad aspects and that it's not just shades of grey, it's a kaleidoscope of people acting according to different values. 

But not being able to say that in conversation without someone thinking I'm just unwilling to state my assumed to be unequivocal opinion is one of the things that falls under 'imputing meanings that are not what someone actually said, in order to ignore ambiguities.'

The thing about right and wrong though is that I can't imagine something I'd think was a moral good if done by person A but a moral evil if done by person B.  Like if I say caging children in horrific conditions is evil, someone responds with an argument about "Obama did this, not Trump!"  as though it matters?  Even if it were true, what has that got to do with whether or not it is evil?

Ignoring the sense of smell is definitely real.  I see people reacting to scent all the time - attracted to or avoiding something, or changing mood, etc, or knowing which way someone went twenty minutes ago because that person was wearing perfume, or being momentarily confused when they walk into a room expecting someone to be there, and maybe even start talking to them, but only because someone else who used the same soap and shampoo was there, and then they stop in confusion and surprise when they realize it's someone else.    But absolutely never does anyone acknowledge that the scent is the reason why. 

People even flatly deny being *able* to smell things I've just watched them react to.  And English has, eg, words for colors, but hardly any words at all that describe scents.  I infer that there is some rule about not talking about scent, but seriously, I have no clue what it is.
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2019, 13:51 by Morituri »
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Morituri

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Don't get me wrong here, I'm *nearly* neurotypical.  I have problems far milder than most of the 'atypical' population.  What I have manifests mainly in what people who care about it call 'incomplete socialization.' 

Which basically means I don't ever pick up on the existence of the implicit rules that people abide by but don't talk about.  For example I was around people who wore clothes every waking hour for my whole childhood, and at age 5 I was still completely unaware of the the nudity taboo.  I mean, I had figured out that these people liked to wear clothes, but nobody had ever even mentioned how they felt about not wearing clothes, or about what judgments they passed on anyone wearing the wrong clothes or no clothes.  Or which clothes were "wrong." 

The results have varied from alarming to humorous, but usually provoke a response that informs me of the existence of the rule I broke.  At which point I have to make a decision as to whether I care about the people who care about this rule, enough to take the bother of abiding by it.  Sometimes the answer is no.
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2019, 13:56 by Morituri »
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Akima

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I have... difficulties with the very term "neurotypical" since definitions strikes me as very imprecise, and stuffed with an awful lot of unstated assumptions about what is "typical" in a society and culture.
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pwhodges

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...stuffed with an awful lot of unstated assumptions about what is "typical" in a society and culture.

In a particular society and culture depending on the writer, too.
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It took me a long time to figure out, and it still doesn't sit comfortably in my mind, that they don't know when to turn off the Eliza-like process that runs their conversations and attend to reality.

Quote from: MSNBC
CONSTITUENT: Hi, I’m (inaudible) how are you? Happy Fourth of July. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is passing a bill around to increase the minimum wage to 10 bucks and[sic] hour. Do you support that?
YOUNG: Probably not.
CONSTITUENT: 10 bucks, that would give us a living wage.
YOUNG: How about getting a job?
CONSTITUENT: I do have one.
YOUNG: Well, then why do you want that benefit? Get a job.

I also am baffled by skills they have apparently innately that I can't match after intensive effort, like somehow knowing whose turn it is in a conversation.
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Morituri

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I also am baffled by skills they have apparently innately that I can't match after intensive effort, like somehow knowing whose turn it is in a conversation.

This.  A thousand times, this.  You have to watch their eyes to see whose turn they think it is - but that only works in conversations with more than 2 people.  And then there's always that thing where it's your turn - but you have nothing to say and don't know how to pass the turn on to somebody else.
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hedgie

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It took me a long time to figure out, and it still doesn't sit comfortably in my mind, that they don't know when to turn off the Eliza-like process that runs their conversations and attend to reality.

Quote from: MSNBC
CONSTITUENT: Hi, I’m (inaudible) how are you? Happy Fourth of July. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is passing a bill around to increase the minimum wage to 10 bucks and[sic] hour. Do you support that?
YOUNG: Probably not.
CONSTITUENT: 10 bucks, that would give us a living wage.
YOUNG: How about getting a job?
CONSTITUENT: I do have one.
YOUNG: Well, then why do you want that benefit? Get a job.

I believe this is why many people in IT carry a clue-by-four with them at all times.  That whole exchange could be between some tech and a luser that they have to deal with.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #10 on: 20 Jul 2019, 06:42 »

In a particular society and culture depending on the writer, too.
Very much so.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #11 on: 25 Jul 2019, 18:09 »

It took me a long time to figure out, and it still doesn't sit comfortably in my mind, that they don't know when to turn off the Eliza-like process that runs their conversations and attend to reality.

Quote from: MSNBC
CONSTITUENT: Hi, I’m (inaudible) how are you? Happy Fourth of July. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is passing a bill around to increase the minimum wage to 10 bucks and[sic] hour. Do you support that?
YOUNG: Probably not.
CONSTITUENT: 10 bucks, that would give us a living wage.
YOUNG: How about getting a job?
CONSTITUENT: I do have one.
YOUNG: Well, then why do you want that benefit? Get a job.
Two issues here:
1) The exchange above is with a politician.  They don't have to make sense, they just have to stay on their talking points.
2) Also, someone being interviewed, especially a politician in what they consider a hostile environment, will not necessarily *answer the question asked*.  In many cases, they have incentive not to answer the question asked because it's a "gotcha" type of question.

As far as the "Eliza-like process", you're imputing too much processing power to the average schmuck.  I've run into a bonanza of people who cannot tell you what they think *without hearing themselves say it first*, even if all they are really doing is repeating what they just heard.  See also Yaaaaaaaay Newfriend. 

I worked for a while for a manager who could not *think* without a marker in his hand and a blank whiteboard in front of him.  Perfectly fine guy; I'd go fishing with him any day; but totally unable to process complex information without seeing his hands making notes or drawing pictures on something. 

Also, many people can't contemplate a new idea and hold a simultaneous conversation - they can do just one of those at a time.  And I've run into just a very few that can have two opposing ideas active in their heads at the same time, consider them together, and then come to a conclusion without "sleeping on it" at least one night - that is, going off somewhere quiet to consider them separately and then make decisions. 

The research is very clear that distracted people make proportionally poorer decisions the more distracted they are from the topic at hand.  See also texting and driving and compare distracted driving crash rates to drunk driving crash rates.  It's not pretty as they are quite comparable. 

And lastly, if you'll allow me to dust off my old philosophy minor, <rhetorical question>just what *is* reality anyway? </rhetorical question>  Just because you (or I ,or anyone really) grasps a different piece of "reality" than someone else implies nothing about the relative validity of each person involved's conception(s) about that "reality".  Admittedly, sometimes one's conception is inaccurate, but that's usually manifested by "reality" reaching up and smacking your stupid mis-conception(s) out of your head.  The rest of the time it takes dialog before people come to a shared conception (which may still have nothing to do with "observable/experiencable reality").
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #12 on: 26 Jul 2019, 09:31 »

I think it's a general phenomenon because I've also see it in non-politicians.

For example, it is a fact that fees for hunting licenses, at least in my country, are pivotal for wildlife conservation. This may not be universally known. It is relevant to point it out in discussions of hunting.

But it was reflex, it was stimulus-response arc, when a friend of mine said he objected to poaching (to NOT paying license fees) and someone bellowed
DON'T YOU KNOW THAT HUNTING FEES ARE WHAT PAYS FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION!
"Reality", in this case, would simply have been recognizing what the topic of the conversation was.

Another one is
Q: What brings you here today?
A: Shrapnel wounds.
Q: And how long have you been noticing these symptoms?
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"Non-compliance is a social skill"
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #13 on: 27 Jul 2019, 00:03 »

Conversation scripts can be useful outsourcing, but they sure lead to some dumb interactions when they break down.

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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #14 on: 27 Jul 2019, 01:12 »

I have no idea if I'm neurotypical or not (I've long suspected not), but I will never figure out, or accept, why politely and constructively criticising someone's actions or points they state causes extreme hostility by everyone present (even, in my experience, people who were making fun of the person or badmouthing them behind their back - for EXACTLY the same opinions/actions - a few minutes prior), while it's socially acceptable to be confrontational, borderline insulting, verbally hostile as long as you dress it up in the "right" phrases.

I swear, in every social situation where there are many people, there will be at least one asshole that goes for cruel jabs, backhanded compliments and other distinctly aggressive/intimidating/hostile behaviour. Nobody ever calls out such a person on the behaviour, even though it's plain the purpose is to belittle, upset and establish social dominance.

Which would be fine if it ended in, like, High School. But my experience is that adults of any age engage in this if the size of a social group reaches a certain critical mass.

(and I would know, because I am not good at navigating social structures, so more often than not, I'm the easiest prey to the asshole and they pick (on) me)

Disagreeing with a person, on the other hand, immediately causes people to reflexively attack the person who did the criticism.

Malicious intent, even when it's painfully obvious, matters less than whether you stick to the "acceptable" talking points. You can get away with anything if you use the right words. This makes no sense to me, and I refuse to even try to understand.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #15 on: 04 Aug 2019, 10:55 »

I've never been able to understand anything about their passion for watching other people play team sports.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #16 on: 08 Sep 2019, 08:11 »

Another possibility is their ability to tell where other people are going. I have near collisions routinely. I look at what people might want to go towards, I look at which way they're already going and with what level of determination, and constantly get it wrong. They get it right effortlessly.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #17 on: 08 Sep 2019, 09:17 »

Some people did a study on this, and showed it's actually quite simple. You can model human crowd behaviour accurately with just one rule: avoid collisions. If you get that wrong, maybe you're overthinking it.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #18 on: 08 Sep 2019, 13:02 »

But there are some humans who make no efforts to avoid collisions in crowds, so that simulation won't be entirely accurate!
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #19 on: 09 Sep 2019, 06:17 »

But there are some humans who make no efforts to avoid collisions in crowds, so that simulation won't be entirely accurate!
But almost everyone around them will make the effort, so their self-centeredness cancels itself out.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #20 on: 09 Sep 2019, 08:54 »

My situation is I'm trying to avoid collisions and having trouble making that work, when everyone around me seems to handle it automatically.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #21 on: 26 Sep 2019, 03:10 »

Plenty of things, but if I have to pick one I'll go with performing happiness for the "Hi, how are you?" exchange. I can't do it. I understand that this is just a stock greeting phrase, and my job is to complete the circuit by responding with "Good, and how are you?"

Well, I understand all that in theory - but I find myself incapable of saying I'm good when I'm not. I've had to come up with some socially acceptable responses that I can say when I'm not good. Because responding with a true response when you're not good is generally not socially acceptable. I've taken to using "could be worse" a lot. It's generally true and it doesn't result in people staring at you like you made some horrible faux pas.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #22 on: 26 Sep 2019, 03:38 »

Plenty of things, but if I have to pick one I'll go with performing happiness for the "Hi, how are you?" exchange. I can't do it. I understand that this is just a stock greeting phrase, and my job is to complete the circuit by responding with "Good, and how are you?"

Well, I understand all that in theory - but I find myself incapable of saying I'm good when I'm not. I've had to come up with some socially acceptable responses that I can say when I'm not good. Because responding with a true response when you're not good is generally not socially acceptable. I've taken to using "could be worse" a lot. It's generally true and it doesn't result in people staring at you like you made some horrible faux pas.

FWIW, it's not (necessarily) a general "neurotypical people" thing, it's more of a "Anglosphere" thing. The stock response is much less expected in Poland, and I've heard it's similar in a number of other European countries.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #23 on: 26 Sep 2019, 04:51 »

There's a social signal "I acknowledge your presence" along with a registration of some prior relationship that the "how are you?  Good.  And you?" exchange is all about.  To give any information outside of that general realm is demanding the asker to think, and perhaps stop to chat, which may or may not be desirable, and if it is undesirable, could damage in some small degree, the relationship.  Once I figured this out, I got past my desire to have a conversation in the "passing in the hall" circumstance.
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Re: What's the most baffling thing about neurotypical people?
« Reply #24 on: 26 Sep 2019, 19:29 »

You can also short-circuit that by answering what they meant instead of what they said. 

It'll be technically a non-sequitur but nobody will ever notice because they actually aren't thinking about what they said.

So here's what happened.  They said "Hi, how are you," when they actually meant "Hello" and "We're acquainted with each other."

So you can just ignore the how-are-you question they said, and answer what they meant instead. "Hi, good to see you!" or "Hello, it's been awhile hasn't it?"  answers in kind even though technically it is a non-sequitur to the how-are-you question.
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