Cognitive empathy is KNOWING how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Emotional empathy is FEELING physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious. Aspies are said to have more than normal levels of emotional empathy and less than normal levels of cognitive empathy. But if we can FEEL other people's feelings, doesn't this mean that we also KNOW how they are feeling? That's true for me, at least. What others are thinking is often a mystery to me. So maybe thoughts and emotions should not be clubbed under "cognitive empathy"?
Theory of mind is the ability to infer the full range of mental states (beliefs, desires, intenions, imagination, emotions, etc.) that causes action, or the ability to reflect on the contents of one's own and others' minds. Aspies are said to be lacking in this ability, or suffering from mindblindness. We are believed to think that if we feel/ perceive something, probably others do too and if we don't feel/ perceive something, probably others don't either. Eg. When playing hide and seek, thinking that if I can't see them, they can't see me. It has been speculated that mindblindness could simply be attributed to the differences between autistic and non-autistic thought processes, i.e. aspies could be less mind-blind with others like themselves.
I think the term "theory of mind" is problematic. I think it is too broad and encompass too many separate ideas. Aspies are said to have a reduced ability to read other people's social cues such as facial expressions or body language. I personally am highly perceptive about this. So either I was misdiagnosed as an aspie or at least some aspies are great at perceiving other people's body language/expressions, which may reflect on their emotions and intentions. But I still often do not know how to respond to them even if I understand what they're feeling. Are there other aspies here who can't relate to the idea that we can't perceive body language/expressions? What I fail to pick up on to be precise, are the ways other people think or process their emotions and the beliefs that they may hold.
Is it just me or does anyone else feel that there are contradictions and inaccuracies in these ideas about us currently held by the mainstream scientific community on us? Please correct me if I'm wrong. Your thoughts are much appreciated. Thank you all.
I can read intentions and motives exceptionally well, likely more than many NTs. I still don't know how to respond to them other than a straight "I see you! Don't even try!", which gives them an opportunity to play the hurt victim who never had such intentions. They're just too good at this game. I can never with being honest and straightforward. Before my diagnosis, I thought my schooling ruined me.
I am rather confident I cannot be deceived. Doesn't make me any less vulnerable though. I don't know how to deal with people who have bad intentions for me. I trust no one either.
Thank you for sharing your experience. Helps me put my own experiences in perspective.
Thank you for sharing. We don't express our emotions easily, because we feel them too intensely and feel the need to protect ourselves from that intensity. Our amygdala could be up to ten times larger than an NT's.
Towards the end of the paper linked to below, in the section entitled, ‘Interpersonal Dimension Approach.’ There is a pdf download available.
I prefer the approach of the cognitive neuroscience discipline as it is less likely to make value judgements based on a perceived exemplar. Atypical mirror neuron activity and amygdala maturation are at least scientifically verifiable. See here and here respectively. Other neuroscience research here is interesting.
I enjoyed the video, thanks for the link. It’s always refreshing to hear someone with personal experience of autism talk knowledgeably about it.
Given the heterogeneous character of ASC it is difficult to compare experiences exactly, but I’m sure there are similarities. I am aware that I have an atypical diminution in my senses of self and agency that result in occasional stasis, I would like to know how to address this and my proprioceptive hallucinations. Psychiatry seems to only offer pharmaceutical remedies. Behavioural psychologists are adept at conjuring polysyllabic terms to describe the bleeding obvious. There is nothing remotely analytical about psychoanalysis.
I don’t share the antipathy to NTs that I sometimes see expressed on the forum. In an ideal world, I won’t judge them if they don’t judge me.