Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Reading the Research: Consistency in Autistic Adults

Welcome back to Reading the Research, where I trawl the Internet to find noteworthy research on autism and related subjects, then discuss it in brief with bits from my own life, research, and observations.

Today's article notes and replicates a trend in autistic adults regarding decision-making: Adults with autism make more consistent choices

The article describes how autistic people tend to be more detail-oriented, less context-sensitive, and also tend to be less influenceable when given psychologically "leading" multiple choices.  The specific methodology is described, but essentially, you can present a series of three products, and depending on their placement and details, influence people to choose one over the other.  

The authors suggest their results may indicate a certain tone-deafness (my words) to marketing gimmicks and tricks.  Speaking from personal experience, I tend to notice and resent those marketing tricks and gimmicks, but I always assumed that was my degree in psychology, rather than any particular effect of my autism.

I do think I tend to be more consistent in my choices than many people, but that's often presented as a bad thing, not a good one.  It can indicate a certain inflexibility of thinking, and while I'm prone to that, I do try to mitigate it.  I try new foods.  I eat foods I know I hate when visiting other people for politeness' sake.  I make efforts to interact neurotypically with neurotypical people.

The last thing about this article I wanted to note was the apparent re-branding of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) into ASC (Autism Spectrum Conditions).  This is... interesting to me, and most likely driven by the neurodiversity movement and increased communication between researchers and proponents of that movement.  I wouldn't expect a re-printing of the DSM (psychology's manual of diagnoses) anytime soon, but it's promising to see things like this slip into research.  Hopefully, it's a sign of progress, and viewing autistic people as more than simply a diagnosis. 

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