Comment by John_D on Autism, or early isolation? · 2015-06-29T19:19:18.074Z · LW · GW

I suspect there is a communication barrier between high-IQ and average-IQ people. Also, people tend to connect with each other through shared interests, and many with high-IQ also have high openness, lending oneself to have unconventional interests. With fewer people like you, it can lead to literal social isolation, and a feeling of disconnectedness with others. I don't think this is autism per se, but I can see why many people with high IQs may think they have autism.

Comment by John_D on List of potential cognitive enhancement methods · 2015-06-29T00:56:04.645Z · LW · GW

I suspect there is a bidirectional relationship regarding quality relationships and cognition.

Even without direct evidence, there is indirect evidence that supports the lack of confidants affects cognition. Socializing is an experiment with measurable effects on cognition that I already mentioned. Animal models, which historically have been a pretty good proxy for human models, certainly support isolation affecting cognition. Prisoners put in solitary confinement show signs of deteriorating mental functioning. Close knit communities, not to be confused with rural communities, have much lower rates of mental illness (almost all of which deteriorate cognition after onset, some to devastating magnitudes) despite lower educational achievement. These lend support that the correlational data is not a simple matter of poor cogniton affecting social skills, and warrants actual experimentation.

Comment by John_D on List of potential cognitive enhancement methods · 2015-06-28T22:19:37.500Z · LW · GW

An article in the Atlantic talks about a paradox in modern societies; people are more lonely despite (supposedly) more opportunities to interact with others. This also coincides with the rise of cognitive declining mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. It references the falling of close confidants and more rocky relationships with family and spouses as a possible source. Indeed, 10 minutes of conversation can enhance cognition, less quality (but not quantity of) relationships predict cognitive decline in the elderly, and people with more friends have better executive functioning. Forced social isolation deteriorates cognition in other social animals such as rodents.

I think this is important because cognitive enhancement is discussed somewhat frequently in LW (to my knowledge), but developing close friendships less so, and (also) to my knowledge, never in the context of cognitive enhancement. The knee-jerk reaction is that correlation is not causation, and indeed loneliness is hereditary despite it being increased in the past several decades. I suspect, the hereditary aspect is in part, due to the fact that some people are more prone to seek out close relationships, and receive the mood and cognitive enhancement as a positive side effect.

Based on what I could find, no experiments have looked at developing quality relationships and seeing its effects on cognition, and most studies are correlational or based on animal-models. At the very least, it is something to look at.


Comment by John_D on An Experiment In Social Status: Software Engineer vs. Data Science Manager · 2014-08-01T17:50:48.041Z · LW · GW

This post hit a chord with me, and I am curious as to what actions you took to change it. Did you simply go somewhere different, or are you doing something different?

Comment by John_D on An Experiment In Social Status: Software Engineer vs. Data Science Manager · 2014-07-30T12:06:26.143Z · LW · GW

A problem with this experiment is that while Bill may be the same person in Interview A and B, the interviewers are not the same person. You can't know for sure if the VP in A would act like the CEO in B if Bill was interviewing for a managerial position. It is just as likely that the VP in A is simply a jerk who tries and one-up all interviewees, regardless of the status of the position they are interviewing for.

Comment by John_D on "All natural food" as an constrained optimisation problem · 2014-07-29T18:37:40.150Z · LW · GW

Misnomer noted. So, is there evidence that conventional foods (or foods that are not organic) have adverse effects beyond possible nutritional differences, when compared to organic foods, and genetically modified vs. not modified? (and by not modified I mean not genetically modified, if the context preceding the words didn't make those words crystal clear) I am of course open to the possibility, but I would like to see harder evidence before paying a premium.

Comment by John_D on "All natural food" as an constrained optimisation problem · 2014-07-29T18:03:25.856Z · LW · GW

Are we trying to find out if organic foods are more nutritious, or if organic foods offer health benefits beyond nutrition? (or to reverse that, do inorganic foods offer adverse effects beyond nutrition) Remember I said , " Modified food may or may not have adverse effects beyond different nutrient contents (which so far is debatable)," The authors conclude in your 2nd link that they agree the evidence on the benefits of organic foods is scant at the moment.

Comment by John_D on On saving the world · 2014-07-29T17:44:37.717Z · LW · GW

Yes, that was a little extreme on my part. What I was trying to say is that people don't always respond to rational ideas.

"What does it mean for the world to be "saved"?"

I was trying to relate to the author's idea of "saving" the world, which from what I gather is maximizing altruism and bureaucratic inefficiencies, to start. (governments are inefficient, wars are bad, etc.)

Comment by John_D on "All natural food" as an constrained optimisation problem · 2014-07-29T17:27:47.635Z · LW · GW

A place to start is to feed two groups of animals foods, one eating organic and the other eating inorganic, with identical or near-identical nutrient compositions, and see how they respond over time. Linking dietary effects between animal and human models has been done in the past, so it isn't too far-fetched. It won't be perfect, since the animals won't be humans, but it is certainly better than the paucity of data available, and assuming that organic = good with scarce evidence (see below).

Comment by John_D on Optimizing Sleep · 2014-07-29T16:48:30.951Z · LW · GW

Some other ways to optimize sleep:

  • Metformin helps improve sleep, and a theorized mechanism is through improved glucose metabolism. This might also explain why exercise, which has a similar effect on glucose metabolism, improves sleep as well, and why deteriorating health worsens it.
  • Some blood pressure lowering drugs worsen sleep, but the possible mechanism is through melatonin suppression.


Comment by John_D on On saving the world · 2014-07-29T16:02:15.259Z · LW · GW

From what I gather, most people don't respond to rational ideas and actions, just ideas and actions they believe will benefit themselves or their group. This is how bad ideas continue to flourish (Bigger Church = Pleasing the Lord = Better chance of an afterlife). In addition, people do respond to ideas they believe are moral, but what most people define as "good" or "bad" actions, moral or immoral, tend to be what people believe will benefit them or the group they relate to (family, community, country, etc.) As a rule of thumb, to most people, actions that benefit society = moral, actions that hurt society = immoral.

Even morals that everyone can agree on, such as killing, are thrown out the window when it comes to those outside the group. Historically, people have been quite cruel to out-groups (war) and those within the group they feel aren't benefiting their "team"(poor treatment of homeless, civil wars, etc.), whether real or imagined. Notice the difference between what people believe vs. what may actually help the them.

Knowing this about human nature, the question is do most people want the world to be saved? If the answer is yes, and the above behaviors are the result of primitive fear mechanism towards outsiders, then in order for ideas to gain traction, you have to convince people to realize the potential benefit, and believe that the world can change. If the answer is no, then it is best to attach yourself to like-minded people.

Comment by John_D on "All natural food" as an constrained optimisation problem · 2014-07-29T12:11:29.239Z · LW · GW

I'm surprised by the lack of research on organic foods and health, and it seems like it wouldn't be too hard for a talented researcher to compare the health and mortality of people who consume organic vs. inorganic diets, after controlling for differences between the two groups, such total nutrient consumption, exercise, premorbid conditions prior to organic consumption, etc. Modified food may or may not have adverse effects beyond different nutrient contents (which so far is debatable), but I'm surprised at the amount of people who have jumped on this bandwagon with scant supporting evidence.

There is also the possibility that people will eat worse when consuming organic. I suspect that an inorganic diet composed of fish, fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean dairy, and nuts will be far healthier than an organic diet composed of fried chips, fatty artisan cheeses, chocolate bars, and low fiber carbs. Go to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods and watch how many carts are filled with the things you shouldn't eat. In fact, it seems the all-natural industry follows #1 (as far as they can) and #2 quite well, and if organic retailers are a proxy, they are about as good at ignoring #3 as the rest of the industry.

Comment by John_D on [LINK] Will Eating Nuts Save Your Life? · 2014-07-28T19:05:33.315Z · LW · GW

As you have already pointed out, people who eat nuts also engage in other healthy activities. It sort of reminds me of the studies on moderate drinkers and death. Perhaps people who are able to control their drinking after having one or two beers, have more self-control in other areas of their life, compared to those who are heavy drinkers or teetotalers who avoid it like the plague.

Even after controlling for all of this, I wonder if their is an optimal nut intake.

Comment by John_D on How to Beat Procrastination · 2014-07-28T18:54:15.604Z · LW · GW

Oddly enough, I find that the best way to get something done is to read a schedule that I made the day before. I somehow feel more obligated to stick to it than if I written it the day of. I can't fully explain why this is the case, perhaps due to the fact that I'm more fatigued by the time I've written one, but it seems to be the best way I found to hack my own procrastination. Tim Ferriss also advocates making a plan for the day or week ahead, although his reasons might be different than mine.

Comment by John_D on Notes on Psychopathy · 2014-05-24T22:24:02.888Z · LW · GW

With the card game in mind, I have doubts that most psychopaths can function on any executive level, and am not surprised at all that they overrepresent as prisoners.

Hare says that because narcissistic, histrionic, and obsessive compulsive tendencies are elevated in executives, it must mean that psychopaths are more common in executives as well, because after all these are "psychopathic tendencies" This is akin to saying that because someone has above-average self-esteem, they also have psychopathic traits. But if anyone really wants to pore through the data, antisocial traits (or callousness), a core feature of psychopathy, is not elevated in executives. In fact, it was lower than the other groups studied. They report the data but overlook this important fact in their paper. Looks like the authors had an agenda.

Considering what we know about the callousness of corporations and atrocities committed by cultures throughout history, it is easy to assume that psychopathy runs rampant among leaders. (and it plays on people's envy) Of course, this relies on the assumption that "good" people are not capable of atrocities and competitive greed without the coercion of bad people. Put two perfectly normal small families in a remote island with only enough resources to feed one, and you will see how quickly morality and compassion get thrown out the window. Knowing this, it is easy to imagine this concept in larger groups, which explains the behavior we see in war or corporate competition (where letting your competitors win means losing your job). No psychopathy is needed.

Comment by John_D on Crowley on Religious Experience · 2013-11-14T13:52:59.697Z · LW · GW

Interesting observation. It is hard to find an in-depth article in Google Scholar on the idea that meditation or similar practices evolved to help us deal with stress and hone concentration. A recent study showed that nuns and monks who prayed or meditate showed increased activity in the parts of the brain implicated in analytical thinking and stress management.

My question is are these simply tricks we learned to deal with stress, or were they are part of human evolution to help cope with stress?

Comment by John_D on Rational Romantic Relationships, Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics · 2013-10-11T15:26:15.491Z · LW · GW

I suspect that while dark triad traits are desirable to women, they aren't the only desirable traits. As you said, research shows that agreeableness and altruism also tend to be attractive, and conscientious and agreeable men tend to be better dancers, and thus more attractive. (quick google search) I suspect that there are multiple types of attractive men, or you can still possess all these traits.

Then again, it is important to know how the dark triad is measured to begin with. I am not sure if this is the actual test, but it looks legitimate. While saying disagree to all or most of the questions that measured lying and callousness, I still managed to score high on Machiavellianism and above average in Narcissism. (low on psychopathy) This also calls into question how "dark" some of these traits are, since outside of psychopathy, the other questions were related to self-esteem and a desire for influence, which isn't inherently evil, and can still coincide with agreeable and prosocial personalities.

Comment by John_D on A signaling theory of class x politics interaction · 2013-08-30T00:02:07.188Z · LW · GW

I disagree that the reason why many upper-middle class whites lean left is entirely philanthropic signalling. Some of it may be envy and power grabbing. A person making 120k a year may be living comfortably, but still not as comfortable as a person making 30 million a year. Let's not forget that many advocate raising the taxes of the top 1% of earners. This form of redistribution to the poor, if implemented, puts a burden on the extremely wealthy, which lowers the wealth and power of the elites, and thus puts the upper-middle class in closer position to vying for elite status. If anyone has data, I suspect the voting habits of the extremely wealthy are more Republican, with the 2nd tier yet still affluent being more Democrat.

It is interesting to note that many scholars disagree that many of the peasant revolts of the 14th-16th centuries were entirely motivated by famine. Typically they were spearheaded by a person or group of individuals who were well off but not quite elite, usually well-to-do merchants or a knights of lesser nobility, garnering the support of the extremely poor. The similarity between this and left-leaning ideologies throughout history is an affluent class supporting the promise to improve the standard of living of the poor. While never successful during that time period, we can use the French Revolution and later revolutions in other countries as a model of what happens if they were successful. The elites (nobility) became overthrown, and the doctors and lawyers that led the revolution become the new elite. (it is also interesting to note that the poor are in the end no better off and an authoritarian rule is created or maintained)

While modern civilization is less bloody, you can achieve the same goals by creating tax burdens on the extremely wealthy (like what is happening now in France) and reducing income disparity, putting oneself closer to elite status.

Comment by John_D on Ego syntonic thoughts and values · 2013-07-06T00:28:37.822Z · LW · GW

Interesting study since one of the hallmark symptoms of bipolar is a lack of sleep, and BDNF is lacking in bipolar individuals who are depressed. I think more research should be done to see if this therapy can throw someone into bipolar disorder.

A bothering trend in the psychiatric community, which is now being recognized by mental health professionals, is the overuse of labels without looking at the patient's individual symptoms and tackling them accordingly. The lack of objective tests also gives rise to misdiagnosis, even for severe disorders such as bipolar, and is dangerously more common than people realize:

"According to Zimmerman's study, the underdiagnosis of bipolar disorder is not the case. Rather, only 43 percent of those surveyed who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder actually match the criteria for the disorder."

In addition, some important institutions in mental health realize the current mental health institution is broken and want to incorporate genetics, cognitive science, neuroimaging etc. to develop a new one. While far from perfect, this is a step towards the right direction and will bring us closer to an objective test of mental health.

At the moment, people are being diagnosed on an illness built on shaky grounds, and there is a good chance that professionals won't even bother to consult those shaky grounds when diagnosing.


Comment by John_D on How to Write Deep Characters · 2013-06-17T12:52:20.204Z · LW · GW

I don't think it is an indicator that the audience is messed up. I haven't seen Battlestar Galactica but regarding Game of Thrones, if the boards are any indicator of the audience, then most people seem to root for the more morally acceptable (good) guys, and are disappointed that they keep getting screwed over. The show is also known for unexpected character deaths, so it could just be an indicator of the audience wanting to be surprised or in a state of suspense.

Comment by John_D on Exercise isn't necessarily good for people · 2013-06-09T22:27:10.826Z · LW · GW

I didn't say the study mentioned it, I said that dietary patterns can change due to exercise. The link didn't say what they ate or didn't to maintain their weight, and I can imagine that increasing your total calories consumed can't be completely safe even if it is just for weight maintenance. That is why researchers need to control for changes in diet, changes in overall health unrelated to exercise (people do get diseases for various reasons, as I can imagine would be common to a group of previously sedentary participants), etc., to make sure adverse health changes are directly caused by exercise itself.

Of course, without a link to the papers themselves, it is hard to say how properly controlled the experiments were.

If these variables weren't properly accounted for, then overall the data should give cause to concern, but is still inconclusive.

Comment by John_D on Exercise isn't necessarily good for people · 2013-06-09T20:19:45.380Z · LW · GW

"I would doubt that the 12% adverse responders is a controlled result."

Exactly, especially when you consider a study that suggests a large portion of the population changes their dietary patterns, usually for the worse, after they begin exercise. So it is possible that the adverse responders began to up their caloric and fatty intake. Hopefully they controlled for change in diet and health at baseline, but considering the rigor of most studies, I doubt it.


Comment by John_D on Exercise isn't necessarily good for people · 2013-06-09T03:04:12.213Z · LW · GW

It seems the results show on that some actually get worse, but I wouldn't say this is a firm conclusion that some should avoid exercise altogether. The problem with most experimental studies on exercise is that many use an across-the-board regimen for all participants that isn't customized to the individual. So, if one participant gets 30 mins a day at 70% of HRmax then all do. It is probable that some who get worse may need less or more exercise, greater or lesser intensity, resistance as opposed to aerobic, etc.

Comment by John_D on The Power of Pomodoros · 2013-05-17T00:53:14.074Z · LW · GW

I can imagine some abusing this technique for things that add little value to their lives but many feel have to get done, such as dusting their fan blades or making their office as neat (as opposed to efficient) as possible. Also, people who are already lazy may choose simpler tasks when applying this technique, as opposed to mentally draining tasks such as studying or improving set skills. Perhaps their should be an addendum to prioritizing goals that provide value (monetary, personal growth, etc.) within the 25 minute mark.

Comment by John_D on Why Don’t We Apply What We Know About Twins to Everybody Else? · 2013-05-12T14:37:03.196Z · LW · GW

This post sort of reminds me of this study:

" As compared to the control group, students who learned about intelligence's malleability had higher academic motivation, better academic behavior, and better grades in mathematics "

I suspect that belief that one can self-improve one's intelligence is partially explain by genetics as well. Another example of a trait that correlates with both behavior and intelligence is openness. Openness correlates with personal growth, need for cognition and crystallized intelligence (and certain facets correlated with fluid intelligence), so a predisposition to want to improve oneself may cause one to search for ways to do it. I also noticed that many people who eat well and exercise regularly are very knowledgable of its effects on cognition and positive mood, so there could be a predisposition for self-improvement and desiring exercise.

If intelligence can be partially explain by behavioral factors that enhance one's intelligence, then it also leaves room for improving it as well. (can these behaviors be taught, or does the average person just give up?)

Comment by John_D on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-11T20:52:23.998Z · LW · GW

For someone who is overweight, and a lot of people are, losing weight is also a great way to increase your pullup quantity. (not to mention a host of other health benefits) Though, some would argue that it is easier to just gradually build your strength to do pullups than to drop 20-30 lbs.

Comment by John_D on LW Women- Female privilege · 2013-05-06T01:16:54.585Z · LW · GW

This abstract follows the Wikipedia excerpt:

Comment by John_D on [LINK] Neuroscientists Find That Status within Groups Can Affect IQ · 2013-05-05T19:21:23.175Z · LW · GW

Anyone heard of this effect being replicated? It seems awfully steep (17 point drop?) to be believed. I ask because ideally we want to maximize cognition to maximize workplace and personal success, and this seems very detrimental to many people who are in lower-status positions within the hierarchy. It also may explain why some people seem to perform worse when their boss is hovering over them. If this is true, then there is some truth when people say, "Don't worry about what others are thinking".

An alternate explanation: It is possible that those with lower baseline IQ experience more fatigue after taking a mentally stimulating test, so that they experience a greater drop in cognition when taking another one back-to-back. Did the researchers reveal the times between the paper-and-pencil test and the computer-based one? The article doesn't say.

EDIT: The paper is free and is found below. Apparently the computer-based test was taken soon after based on the wording of the authors. I wish the test was given the day after to control for mental fatigue. Too bad, seems like they were on to something there.

Comment by John_D on Social intelligence, education, & the workplace · 2013-05-03T14:06:06.416Z · LW · GW

I suspect that a lot of people who aren't socially dominant in the traditional sense optimize for prestige (higher education to gain income, advertising intellect by getting a Phd, picking up an instrument, etc.) , which can be status enhancing, and thus still a display of dominance.

Of course, since the average person cares about social jockeying, sychophantism, and wit at the expense of others, it may help to learn some of these skills if your goal is to move up in the workplace.

Comment by John_D on Intelligence as a bad · 2013-05-01T18:27:26.711Z · LW · GW

Based on that link, I was a little surprised that openness decreases income. Considering its correlation with crystallized knowledge, I would have expected no effect or a positive one.

Comment by John_D on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-05-01T17:59:34.239Z · LW · GW

"Reason and Emotion are a tag team in decision making in ethical domains. They do their best work together."

That statement is too strong. I can think of several instances where certain emotions, especially negative ones, can impair decision making. It is reasonable to assume that impaired decision making can extend into making ethical decisions.

The first page of the paper linked below provides a good summary of when emotions, and what emotions, can be helpful or harmful in making decisions. I do acknowledge that some emotions can be helpful in certain situations. Perhaps you should modify your statement.

Comment by John_D on LW Women Entries- Creepiness · 2013-04-30T04:33:28.195Z · LW · GW

"I think it's quite right to view a guy making a bunch of unwanted advances as rather a jerk, depending on how much he makes rejecting him suck for the targets. He's generating a bunch of negative utility."

Yes in that situation one would be jerk, but not everyone was complaining about a bunch of advances (and I did say that some of the grievances were justified), but even one advance or something that could have been miscontrued as an advance. If we (safely) assume the anecdotes come from people who have freely given out their number or have let a guy talk over them, then it sets a tone that the socially awkward should come off as asexual as possible to avoid offending a member of the opposite sex. That doesn't seem like a reasonable expectation to put on others.

Comment by John_D on LW Women Entries- Creepiness · 2013-04-30T03:04:53.646Z · LW · GW

"Often I hear guys complain that an advance is deemed "creepy" if it's unwelcome, but not if the same thing were said or done by an attractive man."

Yes that seems to be the crux of some criticism, and for good reason. Anyone who has been through high-school knows a lot of unattractive or socially undesirable men get tremendous backlash for behaviors that a desirable men get away with. It doesn't help that sometimes the word creep is a slur for an unattractive person hitting on another. The complaint goes beyond the double-standard, it sends a message that people have a right not to feel creeped out even when the feeling is unwarranted, and therefore benign behaviors (too much chatting or asking for a number) should be avoided altogether by some, specifically the awkward.

And many may also feel genuinely unsafe, but the advice given by many is to improve social skills or courting behavior, and this doesn't mitigate any real harm. The legitimate creep or the awkward geek is not any less dangerous because he read Dale Carnegie or a PUA website.

Granted, some of the anecdotes are cause for legitimate concern, but I'm not addressing those.

Comment by John_D on Three more ways identity can be a curse · 2013-04-28T20:01:38.769Z · LW · GW

"Yes, people with divergent ideas are more likely to be exiled."

I did mention creative achievement as well, not just divergent thinking. So are musicians and actors among these exiled? These seem like the type of professions that are lauded in mainstream culture more than exiled. Creativity correlates both with being attractive to the opposite sex and suicidal ideation (not to mention suicidal completion). Now, sexual attraction doesn't necessarily prove that these are socially acceptable professions, but I think it is premature to call these people "exiled" without additional evidence.


I still stand by the position that depression being rooted solely on the basis of tribal exile, or as an evo-psych emotional reaction to tribal exile, as grossly simplistic.

Comment by John_D on Three more ways identity can be a curse · 2013-04-28T13:26:39.789Z · LW · GW

I like your post but have a criticism with his explanation for why people are not productive when depressed" "A lot of depressed people make statements like "I'm worthless", or "I'm scum" or "No one could ever love me", which are illogically dramatic and overly black and white, until you realize that these statements are merely interpretations of a feeling of "I'm about to get kicked out of the tribe, and therefore die."

I suspect that depression has multiple underlying causes depending on the individual.

Some examples:

1) Not everyone experiences depression when faced with failure, many don't, even if that failure would have meant getting kicked out of the tribe in the ancestral environment

2) mood disorders are more common in certain professions, ones where it would be erroneous to call unproductive. Suicidal ideation correates with divergent thinking and creative achievement in a sample of undergrads.

3) There is a new theory that depression in some may be due to mild brain damage, possibly caused by high fat diets, pollution, and lack of exercise. Evidence for this by its high percentage in industrialized society compared to egalitarian cultures, It is no surprise that high-dose, moderate intensity exercise alone works about as well as antidepressants.

4) Diseases such as diabetes and high-blood pressure can cause depression,due to its damaging effects on cognition.

I agree that these are good techniques to combat the fear of failure, and perhaps the source is fear of exile. But attributing depression as being rooted in tribal failure is a simplistic explanation based on the evidence available, and could give people wrong ideas on how to combat it.

Comment by John_D on Be Happier · 2013-04-27T20:14:11.013Z · LW · GW

I personally think the original images used in the study are even worse choices, because at least there is some uniformity between displays of emotions taken from the article, which better control for possible confounders.

Now for the actual pics used in the study. In the set of male pics that are supposed to display pride, there seem to be far more pics that convey athleticism or wealth, as others have pointed out. In the happiness pictures, there seem to be far more close-ups and profile pics, with the rest of the body being hidden from the viewer. I would argue that the shame pics are animated in comparison.

Seems like an overall poor study based on these sample of pics, and certainly should not be a recommendation for men to not smile next time they are out in public.

Comment by John_D on Physicists To Test If Universe Is A Computer Simulation (link) · 2013-04-18T04:03:43.723Z · LW · GW

"For us to break the fourth wall, either our creators would have to desire it or be pretty bad at running simulations."

There is also the possibility that, assuming we live in a simulation, the creators simply do not care or mind whether they are discovered or not. This would also leave open the possibility of breaking the fourth wall.

Comment by John_D on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2013-04-17T18:24:43.429Z · LW · GW

"If you're kind of good at (or interested in) analytical things, and kind of bad at (or uninterested in) social things, you'll specialize your own brain in that direction. It may even be in your best interest to specialize to some extent, to play to your strengths."

I agree with this. I would also like to add, especially with higher-functioning autistics , that they are quite aware of the practicality of social skills and status, and if wrongplanet users are any indicator, many if not most want to be genuinely socially adept. Regarding the NT vs. AS model, here are a couple possible reasons as to why NTs have better social skills: 1) It is unconscious and hard-wired, or 2) due to being more vigilant for social cues and body-language, learn the rules of the game earlier in life and reap the benefits as a result. I prefer the latter explanation, because it means one can be socially competent once these rules are taught.

Comment by John_D on Do you have High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome? · 2013-04-17T05:28:04.290Z · LW · GW

"upmanship and power jockeying, people who slap you on the back and call you "bro," obsessions with alcohol and sometimes drugs, fixation on team sports and celebrities"

These seem like common narrow-interests within the general population. I find fixations with a handful of interests common with many people, it just seems that those with ASD or ASD-like personalities have interests beyond the mainstream. I am a little bothered with the pathologizing of academic interests, particularly in STEM fields, as "narrow" and "all-absorbing". Americans obsession with football and celebrity culture is fine, but if someone has an obsession with biology or physics it suddenly becomes "narrow".

Comment by John_D on Don't Get Offended · 2013-03-25T04:45:57.601Z · LW · GW

I also agree, especially if one is trying to look high-status to the average person in the general population. Science and rationality is still looked at as nerdy, unfortunately.