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Just checking in again

This morning as I was doing my daily yoga I started thinking that it had been quite some time since I last checked into LJ. Indeed, it has been over three years. Facebook has really displaced this medium. Logging in, I found that the Russians have a whole new user's agreement that allows them to terminate my account here if I do not log in at least once every six month. This, despite the fact that I paid for a lifetime account prior to the Russian takeover. Oh well, guess I will drop in a little more often.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2017 07:12 pm (UTC)
Hi there; thanks for stopping by my Lj - how did you find it, anyway? Do we know each other from somewhere else?

I took your online test, and read a few of your articles - quite impressive. If you want to talk some time about protocol validity in the autistic community, I've got a number of thoughts about that, because every personality test I have seen - including the assorted variants of 'Big 5' - is fundamentally biased toward neurotypical thinking-styles.
Apr. 10th, 2017 08:21 pm (UTC)
Transcendentally Tempted Anonymous
We "met" in the community I created, Transcendentally Tempted Anonymous. You presented me with some reality after I posted an account of two synchronicities.

I would definitely like to hear your thoughts about the lack of suitability of Big 5 tests for the autistic community.

I read an interesting observation about individuals on the autistic spectrum being essentially immune to synchronistic thinking in Jesse Bering's book, The Beliif Instinct: The Psychology if Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life. I posted a review of that book here: http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/5/j5j/papers/IWantToBelieve.pdf .
Apr. 10th, 2017 09:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Transcendentally Tempted Anonymous
Ah yes, there - that was a while ago! Nice to see you again.

I'll get back to you; have to go ride the lawnmower now - meanwhile, Friending you; talk to you soon!

Apr. 11th, 2017 02:53 am (UTC)
Hmmm. First of all I would direct you to the Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical, where that whole "autistics lack ToM" stereotype is merrily debunked. Neurotypicals making pronouncements about autistic experience is just as offensive as men making them about womens' experience, or whites about black experience, or straights about gay experience. Something you probably won't see acknowledged in the neurotypical 'professional' literature is the fact that many autistics' theory of mind re NTs is "these people are all bat-shit crazy".

Individuals on the spectrum are definitely not all immune to synchronistic thinking. Some are way more prone to it than most NTs, and build elaborate personal symbol-systems around their ideas of reference. The kicker is that when it's diagnosey-time, such people are more likely to be labeled 'schizophrenic' than 'autistic'.

Anyway: probably the biggest problem with the test is that it doesn't allow for answers of "Both extremes in different circumstances." The only option is 'neither accurate nor inaccurate', which ends up as 'average'.

The test doesn't make any distinction between one's inner experience and outer conduct. In order to succeed in NT society, an autistic person has to learn to 'pass' by adopting NT customs and suppressing autie behaviors. This renders problematic all questions that focus on relating to others.

This test doesn't do it as much as some I've seen, but questions that ask how 'others' view one are problematic. Which 'others'? On which occasions? This person says I'm an angel; that person says I'm a bitch; with this one I share chess and philosophy; with that one I share beer and bawdy songs - how do I average them into a generalized concept of how 'others' see me? The idea that a person could even do that seems nuts to me.

Comment's getting too long, but there's the basics - hope that's helpful; more if you want it. ^^
Apr. 11th, 2017 02:27 pm (UTC)
Central issues - Part I
Your reply reminds me of a number of central issues is personality research and scientific research more generally. Many would regard these issues as unresolved or even unresolvable. Whether they are or not, I still think that they are worth talking about, so I am glad you brought them up.

Academics usually define "personality" as the unique, consistent pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that distinguish persons from one another and make persons recognizable to us. A key concept in the definition is consistency. The definition does not specify how much consistency is required for personality to exist, but if there is no consistency there would be no justification for describing people with words like "shy," "trendy," "logical," "chatty," and so forth.

Academics debated the consistency issue throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Personality critics said that perceived consistency is all in our heads, and that people are too inconsistent to describe them in terms of personality traits. Personality psychologists kept presenting data to support their contention that personality exists until finally the critics gave up.

This does not mean that the consistency issue is dead, however. As you note, people can be perceived differently by different reference groups. How we can incorporate that fact with the notion of personality consistency remains a challenge. There is a body of research on this topic that I cannot possibly summarize here.

One "trick" used by personality psychologists to try to get at consistencies is to simply ask people to describe themselves (or others in a rating study) in terms of how they are "generally." This disallows for "both extremes in different circumstances." This trick is not unique to Big 5 measures but is common to all assessments. It is possible to try to do "situational assessment" in which different situation are specified, but even in a specific situation people are not going to be perfectly consistent.

Personality psychologists are intimately aware of the difference between inner experience and outer behavior or appearance. When personality trait critics pointed to inconsistencies in outer behavior, trait apologists sometimes remarked that people can be consistent on the inside even when their behavior is inconsistent from situation to situation. And some researchers are very much interested in the consistency between the inner and outer person in their research on authenticity. Knowing what someone is *really* like on the inside is difficult. We do have self-report items that refer to thoughts and feelings as well as outer behaviors, but we cannot be certain that people always have enough self-awareness or cooperativeness to provide valid reports of inner experience.

I was intrigued by the NT site. I was amused by the clever argument that NTs are more impaired than those on the spectrum. Actually, more than amused because, although never formally diagnosed, I am aware of my own autistic and schizoid tendencies. I have first-hand experience with building unconventional symbol-systems supported by synchronicities, and these have nothing to do with an overactive ToM.

Apr. 11th, 2017 02:28 pm (UTC)
Central issues - Part II
Concerning the issue of who can say what about whom, I do not think that scientists need to belong to the group they are studying. I have no problem with non-spectrum scientists studying those on the spectrum (although I think auties make better scientists than NTs). A researcher who is male, white, and straight might not be able to have a direct experience of what it is like to be female, black, or gay, but I think that such researchers can make valid scientific contributions on the nature of those experiences. Furthermore, there is not just one "female," "black," or "gay" experience. I find the denial of the diversity within these groups more ill-advised than allowing only the study of people who are "just like me." If only people who are "just like me" can be studied, than nobody can be studied because nobody is just like me. Good-bye, psychology. (I understand that some people would be happy if psychologists ceased to exist.)

One unresolved issue in personality psychology is how to deal with the reality of each of us being a unique individual. Science deals with generalizations, so total focus on uniqueness destroys the possibility of psychological science. On the other extreme, making unwarranted generalization such as "all persons on the spectrum lack a ToM" or "all NTs are bat-shit crazy" is not good science. Despite differences, people have a lot in common. Auties are not unique in suppressing certain tendencies to get along with others. This is true of nearly everyone. In my opinion, the challenge of personality science is finding a way to describe and explain consistencies in thoughts, feelings, and behavior in a way that acknowledges uniqueness without making gross over-generalizations.
Apr. 11th, 2017 08:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Central issues - Part II
Hello! Just running in from Weed Warriors; wish I could stay to reply to all this, because it's most fascinating, but alas, I've got to run right back out again. So... forgive me if it takes a while before I get back to answer; my week is totally slammed.

I broke down the results of my test last night; I'll un-private it so you can take a look if you like. Have a great day; I hope your weather's as nice as ours! April is the coolest month.
Apr. 11th, 2017 08:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Central issues - Part II
Please take your time! We have no deadlines for this discussion. :-)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )