The World as Wittgenstein Found It
The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus as a Model of Autistic Cognition
Autistics think differently than non-autistics—dramatically so. Autistics do not form their fundamental cognitive framework around innate recognition of their human surroundings, as non-autistics generally do, but instead develop a cognition informed primarily by the patterns and structure to be found in the broader environment. This form of cognition presents daunting challenges: autistics experience developmental delays relative to their neurotypical peers, and autistics mostly struggle with lifelong difficulties managing the social aspects of human behavior and culture. But autistic cognition offers a significant compensation. With thought processes less grooved by remnant channels of age-old species need, autistics gain potential to grasp the world in a unique manner.
Some autistics can see features of their environment previously hidden to others, many can examine underlying laws and structure with a laser-like focus, and a few manage to cast their surroundings into entirely new and creative paradigms. Social scientists and biographers have begun to note that many of history’s most innovative individuals—Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Newton, Beethoven, Yeats, Einstein and Turing, to name just a few—could be described as exhibiting autistic-like characteristics and behaviors, traits that may have played a critical role in their immense contributions. Not all autistics are able to conquer the challenges of their condition well enough to receive in good measure its compensatory benefits, but for those who can, their built-in proclivity to lateral thinking serves the human population well. The influence of autistic cognitive traits has been a major catalyst in man’s dramatic leap from savannah-bound primate to questing knight of a massive universe.
In attempting to bring the features of autistic cognition into sharper focus, I can think of three different approaches to take. The first approach would be to turn to first-person accounts from autistics themselves. The autistic autobiographical literature has expanded greatly in recent years, with informative self-descriptions put forth by writers such as Temple Grandin and Donna Williams. These accounts serve as enlightening introductions to the autistic experience from within. The major drawback to relying upon first-person accounts is they come almost exclusively from functioning autistics—that is, those who have come to understand elements of neurotypical cognition well enough to incorporate such elements into their own thinking and lives, using these as the means to help bridge the gap to non-autistic acquaintances and audiences. Such incorporation of neurotypical thinking is crucial for allowing an autistic individual to gain meaningful traction in the human world, but it also leaves the functioning autistic less capable of rendering autistic cognition in its purest form. Pure autistic cognition would in theory be more accurately described by a person with a more classic version of the condition, but alas, the characteristics of classic autism are such that the individual often faces a tremendous challenge conveying that experience to the rest of us.
The second approach to depicting autistic cognition would be to propose an unusual thought experiment. Imagine the entire world as a form of cognition, the broad surroundings—animate and inanimate elements both—as a living, developing thought process, then condense this representation down to the workings of one mind. This no doubt seems a strange notion, but in many ways it is this very strangeness that is the major advantage to the technique, for its unusual nature provides a sense of how vastly different is the quality of the autistic cognitive process from what we typically take for human thought. Autistics are the closest thing we have to true tabula rasas. Their early sensory experiences, less grounded by human-specific influences, are guided in large degree by the pattern and structure that stands out from the surrounding environment. These characteristics are evident in the rapt attention given by autistics to symmetries, repetition and literalness, and it might be as meaningful to say the world cognates through the autistic as it would be to say the autistic thinks about his world. The trouble with taking the world as a form of cognition is that the model is too overwhelming—no one mind, autistic or not, can reflect upon the entire surroundings, but instead absorb only limited portions of it. The world’s immensity leaves inadequate foothold to condense the representation down to a detailed and applicable form.
What is needed finally is a technique that incorporates elements of both autistic autobiography and the world as a form of cognition, while at the same time avoiding the shortcomings of the above-mentioned approaches. What is needed is a model that can crystallize the essence of autistic cognition, in a relatively pure form, abstracting the complexities down to a framework recognizable within the confines of human language. This task at first glance would appear to be an overwhelming challenge, so it is with no small sense of awe and admiration I offer the suggestion the job has already been accomplished, accomplished with such literary bravura the result could pass as the twentieth century’s most ambitious poem. The autistic cognitive model par excellence is Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
Oxytocin Increases Retention Of Social Cognition In Autism
: Oxytocin dysfunction might contribute to the development of social deficits in autism, a core symptom domain and
potential target for intervention. This study explored the effect of intravenous oxytocin administration on the retention of social
information in autism.
: Oxytocin and placebo challenges were administered to 15 adult subjects diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s disorder, and
comprehension of affective speech (happy, indifferent, angry, and sad) in neutral content sentences was tested.
: All subjects showed improvements in affective speech comprehension from pre- to post-infusion; however, whereas those who
received placebo first tended to revert to baseline after a delay, those who received oxytocin first retained the ability to accurately assign
emotional significance to speech intonation on the speech comprehension task.
: These results are consistent with studies linking oxytocin to social recognition in rodents as well as studies linking
oxytocin to prosocial behavior in humans and suggest that oxytocin might facilitate social information processing in those with autism.
These findings also provide preliminary support for the use of oxytocin in the treatment of autism.
MDMA ja Oksitosiini
Aspergerin oireyhtymä aikuisiässä - Duodecim
Oxytocin, the so-called hormone of love, may help promote social skills and social behavior in people with high-functioning autism.
A new study shows people with high-functioning autism disorders, such as Asperger's syndrome, who were treated with oxytocin responded more strongly to others and displayed more appropriate social behaviors.
Despite high intellectual abilities, people with high-functioning autism lack the social skills to engage appropriately with others in social situations.
Oxytocin is nicknamed the hormone of love because it is known to promote mother-infant bonds. It is also thought to be involved in the regulation of emotions and other social behaviors. Other research has found that children with autism have lower levels of oxytocin than children without autism.
"AS-potilaan käyttäytyminen voi vaikuttaa itsekeskeiseltä, joskin kyseessä on enemmänkin tietynlainen ymmärryksen puute kuin psykologisten puolustusmekanismien seuraus."