Thursday, December 20, 2012

Relationship between psychopathy and Autism/Aspergers

Somebody said: "Not everyone has empathy. Psychopaths don't have it. Autism/Asperger's have less empathy which may be part of the reason for the tendency to be socially isolated, unable to grasp social cues and so on. What is the difference and similarity between psychopathy and autism spectrum disorders."

Those concepts are no good -- the assumption is that genes have a causal role, which is false.

When psychologists refer to someone as having a "psychopathy", what's really going on is that that person has evil ideas, ideas that he uses to kill and hurt innocent people. And I guess the psychologists assume that having those evil ideas *must* be due to a physical illness, but that's false. Horrible experiences during childhood (plus his understanding about them, i.e. his choices) is sufficient to causing one to have evil ideas.

When psychologists refer to someone as having "Autism/Asperger's", what's really going on is that that person has ideas that are not socially accepted, ideas that he uses while playing and talking to people and whatever else. And the psychologist is assuming that having these socially unaccepted ideas *must* be due to a physical illness, but that's false.

Regarding similarities, having evil ideas about killing and hurting innocent people (aka "psychopathy") is a special case of having ideas that are socially unacceptable (aka "Autism/Asperger's"). But, a few hundred years ago, it was socially accepted to kill people who had socially unacceptable ideas (referring to the killing of "witches"). Would you call those witch-killers psychopaths? If so, how do you explain why there were so many more psychopaths per capita back then than compared to today?

On a side note: You're wrong that people labeled with "Autism/Aspergers" are *unable* to grasp social cues. They can learn it if they want to, i.e. if they consider that important. And, if they start to learn these social cues long after most everyone else does, then those other people shun them (analogous to witch-killers killing "witches"), thereby making it harder for them to learn social cues. Its a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But before we condemn people for not knowing social cues, lets question whether or not its good to seek social acceptance in the first place?

Also, what if the asocial way is better? Consider this guy who was diagnosed Aspergers when he was young.