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Lecture 12

PSYCH 211: Lecture 12 Notes

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 211
Professor
Mathieu Le Corre
Semester
Fall

Description
-difficult for Temple to put herself in other people’s shoes (ex. for trick-or-treating, she gave kids foreign European money because she said it’s better than candy) -for normally developing humans, social interactions are easily learned; not so much for autistics 4: False theories of causes of autism -saw similarities with autistic kids and prisoners coming out of German concentration camps -linked autism to a profound emotional trauma 5: The genetics of autism -autism has a strong genetic basis -looked at autism in identical and fraternal twins -if you see autism in 1, do you see it in the other? -identical twins have same DNA; fraternal twins share only 50% of their DNA (normal siblings) -if the cause of autism is the mom’s behaviour towards the children, would expect fraternal twins and identical twins have the same similarities and differences when it comes to autism -regardless of amount of DNA shared (point is they share the same mother) -HOWEVER, when looking at identical twins, when you look at the symptoms of one of the children, you can predict the symptoms of the other with 60-90% accuracy -when you look at fraternal twins, you have 0% of predicting symptoms of the other kid -THE EFFECTS OF GENES ARE MUCH STRONGER THAN EFFECTS OF THE ENVIRONMENT! Documentary Video -autistics have encountered extreme environments such as those coming out of concentration camps -trying to turn away from certain people in their lives (ex. parents wishing they weren’t alive) -mother’s unconsciously got their children to feel that they wanted them dead -psychological disturbance -autistic children felt unwanted and unloved -autism is more of a biological disorder (doesn’t have to do with mothers’ attitude or behaviour) 7: Implications of autism for naive psychology -just experiencing social interactions isn’t enough to develop a naive psychology (all normally developing humans have and can use with ease) -autistics don’t’ develop a normal naive psychology (have a hard time understanding people) -CLEAR PROOF that social interaction isn’t sufficient for acquiring a naive psychology -for her (Temple), from the start, understanding people is hard, acquiring a language is hard, though she is quite smart, especially for an autistic -even highly intelligence isn’t enough to get that piece of mental software (naive psychology) -autistics not only tell us about what it’s like to live without a naive psychology, but also what makes having fluid social interactions possible (it is an innate, genetically determined, domain specific learning mechanism) 8: Implications of autism for naive psychology -ex. if knowledge of where North is in the sky is innate, all the birds should have been able to fly away North (shouldn’t matter whether they saw a night sky or not) -having a concept innately vs. having a mechanism that’s designed to learn based on experience are different things -in the case of naive psychology, there’s 2 key concepts: 1. Goal 2. Belief -what autistics are lacking is a mechanism dedicated to learning 9: -the physical environment will be some help in learning language
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