You’ll have a very mild tendency to interpret ambiguous social signals just a little bit more negatively than usual. ”) Williams Syndrome is much rarer – only about 1/10,000 people, and most of them die before reaching adulthood.
For every intellectually disabled person, there are a dozen who are just kind of dumb.” And later, my supervisor was reviewing one of my therapy sessions, and I was surprised to hear him comment that I “seemed uncomfortable with dramatic expressions of emotion”.I mean, I am uncomfortable with dramatic expressions of emotion. As a therapist, I’m supposed to be quiet and encouraging and not show discomfort at anything, and I was trying to do that, and I’d thought I was succeeding.These are the sorts of questions everyone navigates all the time, usually with enough success that when autistic people screw them up, the rest of society nods sagely and says they need to learn to understand how to read context.But “context” means “priors”, and priors can differ from person to person.There are a bunch of good stimulant abuse cases in the literature that present as “patient’s boss said she was unusually standoffish and wanted her to get psychiatric evaluation”, show up in the office as “well of course I’m standoffish, everyone in my office excludes me from everything and is rude in a thousand little ways throughout the day”, and end up as “cut your Adderall dosage in half, please”. NPR has a good article, A Life Without Fear, describing some of what they go through: Kids and adults with Williams love people, and they are literally pathologically trusting. Researchers theorize that this is probably because of a problem in their limbic system, the part of the brain that regulates emotion.(“Why is that psychiatrist telling me to cut my Adderall in half? There appears to be a disregulation in one of the chemicals (oxytocin) that signals when to trust and when to distrust.Each datum permits multiple possible explanations: this is true of visual and auditory perception, but also of the social world.A pretty girl laughs a little too long at a man’s joke; is she trying to flirt with him, or just friendly?“And so Isabelle went over and got into the lady’s van, got in the back seat, buckled up and was waiting to be taken to Dairy Queen with that family.” Jessica had no idea what had happened to Isabelle and was frantically searching for her when the driver of the van approached her and explained that she had been starting her car when she looked up and saw Isabelle’s face in the rearview mirror. Every teacher at Isabelle’s public school has been warned.Isabelle is not allowed to tell them that she loves them. And, you know, I’d rather her be overly safe than be on CNN.” Some of the research on these kids is fascinating – I’m not sure I believe the study finding that they’re incapable of racism, but the one finding a deficit detecting anger in faces seems pretty plausible. Threat-detection seems to be an automated process not totally susceptible to System II control. Intelligence can help a face-blind person come up with some systems to reduce the impact of their condition, but in the end it’s just not going to help that much.