The sense of it all

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I recently came across an article about how autistic folks make more logical decisions than non-autistic individuals.

Apparently, we’re less likely to succumb to “framing effect”, which is about a strong emotional response driving decisions.

At least, that’s the theory.

From where I’m sitting (metaphorically and literally), it seems that autistic people can experience even stronger emotional responses to situations, than non-autistic folks. Perhaps it’s the constant onslaught of emotion — and the waterfall of sensations — that trains us to be less trusting of emotions and sensations, in our decision-making.

That makes sense to me, anyway. It’s like we’re perpetually enrolled in an “emotional crash course” that inundates us with sensations, clouds our vision, and forces us to learn how to handle it all.

And it strikes me that maybe — just maybe — that’s what seems to delay our development in many, many ways. Autism has long been considered a developmental disorder. A delay. I know that I, for one, often feel like I’m delayed… a case of arrested development. It took me years and years to sort out things that seemed to come so naturally to my non-autistic peers.

So, what is source of that delay? I’d propose it’s got a lot to do with the constant onslaught of sensory information and emotional overload that we’re perpetually experiencing. There’s more for us to process. So, our development progresses very, very differently, with less energy and resources available for “normal” (how I hate that word) development — like everybody else.

Seems likely to me.

It makes a lot of sense.

8 thoughts on “The sense of it all

  1. I think your almost on to something there. As a bipolar I understand the onslaught of emotion. What I’ve noticed about autism is less the emotional part of it, and more the sensory part. Autistic people tend to be overwhelmed by sensory input which causes an emotional response, and I think that’s where your theory fits perfectly. And I think agree with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. VisualVox

      Thanks for your response. Emotion isn’t popularly associated with autism, but for me and others I know, it’s a huge deal. Overwhelming. It’s so overwhelming, it needs to be actively managed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, I believe emotion is a huge part of autism. It’s just that I’ve witnessed personally that the emotion becomes overwhelming after a sensory overload. Extreme emotional responses tend to correlate strongly to extreme sense agitation. That’s just what I’ve seen. Not that there’s a lack of emotion, just that it becomes impossible to control after the senses have been triggered. If that makes any sense…?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: What it means to be #autistic and permeable – Under Your Radar

  3. Yes, I know I can see how I’ve made so many poor emotion-driven responses so I’m constantly second-guessing, analysing, and validating my initial response to everything. And that can appear more ‘logical’ but it’s actually driven from past experience with emotional responses and decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VisualVox

      Agreed – I had a rough time, socially, yesterday, interacting with a lot of (friendly) strangers, getting pretty upset about not being able to feel any reciprocity from them…. and also remembering all the past experiences of total social failure and implosion. Managing the sensory fallout from the past is a full-time job, sometimes.


      1. I’ve been mulling this a bit more and I realize that the threads run deeper. There is the aspect of constantly analyzing and second guessing the intensity of my emotional response based on past experience. But there are times when I have to more or less set aside my emotions or I will be overwhelmed and in a crisis I have to function. I had plenty of crises, especially in childhood and young adulthood, that forced me to learn how to do that. Part of how I do that is by hyperfocusing on the problem at hand and figuring out the first thing I need to do, doing it, then working out the next thing that needs to be done, and so on. Thinking about it, I realize my affect and emotional response in those situations can be so muted that even my wife has commented on it. The emotions are there, I know they will erupt later. And I know they will overwhelm me if I lose my hyperfocus and I will cease being able to function. I know because it’s happened.

        And thinking about it, to an external observer that could look very much like all the stereotypes we’ve read in discussions about The Accountant. But that appearance doesn’t come from an absence of emotion. It comes from a need to function despite overwhelming emotion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. VisualVox

        That’s absolutely accurate for me as well. My partner thinks I’m not emotional at times, but if she knew just how emotional I am, it would be overwhelming for both of us. We have to keep functioning, no matter what.


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