Preliminary Results

Some preliminary research on Aphantasia for the curious.

Caitlin M Stewart

We have some of the first results from our aphantasia survey! It’s pretty exciting, but definitely just the start.

Our survey is slightly adapted version of the one created by Dr. Zeman at the University of Exeter, who has been researching the condition and coined the term “aphantasia”. We wanted to have a look at the prevalence of aphantasia with a larger sample size and used various social media networks to get people to fill in our survey.

Defining ‘aphantasia’ as having a score less than 30, we see approximately 4.3% prevalence, higher than the previous estimates of 2-3%. Our distribution looks similar to the one produced by Dr. Zeman with the exception of the last two bars in our graph (>70), where we have found a higher prevalence of people with “hyperphantasia”, or extreme vividness, but we believe this is due to how our participants were selected – largely…

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Quick Update…Moving and water damage.

I know the pages have been silent of late, just moved into a new place and the very first weekend had a pipe go and flood the basement, which is also being used as my office, so my computer has been put up someplace nice and dry for the last week. Add in how difficult it is for me to adjust to new settings, I have just not been in a great place to tend towards my writing.  But rest assured the whole two people who regularly read me, I will eventually be back to writing, some very interesting new research on telomeres in urban populations (shortened by stress and adversity) that I want to tackle, but will probably forget. Sorry again for the extended silence.

A fool’s errand

I have come to understand that my desperate acts of attempting to connect with people now that I have figured out the underlying neuropathy that defines my limited world is probably more harmful than good.  The few intellects I wish to connect with I cannot, I cannot pitch, sell myself, or make myself stand out in any meaningful way. Though putting my thoughts down here seemed like a good way to expand my working memory and force me to double check, triple check, or more my work.  I fear my half formed thoughts and the lack of context for some of them is going to do more harm, instead of de-obfuscating the underlying issues, I see a world of deaf ears, turned dumb by privilege and a society that celebrates the predator mindset with it’s lack of empathy, the dog eat dog, survival of the fittest when folks do not even understand what makes them “fit” in the first place, it is sheer lunacy, and I do not have a strong enough sense of self identity, even being more in tune with it than ever to continue this fight, so I shall leave my thoughts here, maybe I will return to them someday, but at the moment, my utility to humanity is exactly as predicted when I was young, I am deficient and my contributions are limited, most folks aren’t and to demean them is morally unacceptable, but I am not a functional member of this society, and no lamenting, commenting, or anything else is likely to change that, I am not the person equipped to tackle the big picture, but that is all my mind will settle for, I will not be an artist, a school teacher, or anything else, I cannot handle the stimuli of trying to navigate a world designed for those who pull in amazingly little data from their environment, this allows them to function in blissful ignorance.  If I was in “The Matrix”, I too would take the pill to return to the fold, to wipe clean my understanding, because all systems break down, my body is well on it’s way, and the speed at which it happens is irrelevant, just a blip in geologic time, I may understand the hows and whys of how this mess of grey matter came to be in this time and this place, but that knowledge does me no favors, I cannot effectively communicate with those closest to me, I live on another plane of existence in comparison to mass of mindless programmed cultural automatons, and I am sick, tired, and exhausted trying to talk to pre-programmed machines who are seemingly incapable of the slightest amount of self reflection, because the dominant paradigm doesn’t have to learn to navigate the world like those who are not privileged, they continue to build up their sense of identity based upon their financial and quantitative assets. So, I do us all a favor, I take my difference and I remove it from the public scene and retreat to my corner to nurse old wounds and let some newer ones fester, because I am not a rock, but I see no other options than to let the mass of neurotypical humanity carry on it’s way, it does not need me, collaboration has become more important than difference and unique perspectives, so I remove myself from it, there are a few folks in my immediate life that will benefit from going back to sublimating my will to those around me, and I shall embrace the slow and steady decay as I do what I can with what little energy reserves and will I have left, to ensure my daughter does not face the same fate as me, that her self identity will be stronger I hope while she is young, and maybe she can do the things I never could because I am a ruin of a person as a result of the ignorance, intolerance, and the fact that some folks are not yet evolved enough to understand that the shiny little objects and advantages they enjoy today are because different people thought outside the box and that countless humans have died and suffered for their privilege, and if they recognized the scope and nature of the tragedy that has unfolded before our eyes, they could not come to terms with it, because they must seek forgiveness outside of themselves instead of finding it within, yet so many people’s beloved Christ said the same thing, the kingdom of heaven is within you, guess we know why the rich cannot enter it then, because those motivated solely by the value of items in an objective world do not need to turn inward to find the answers, so many pretty shinies all around them instead, does not matter that people, often children suffered, so you can enjoy your shiny, or convenience, and that is decadence, not being gay, or sex positive, or anything else that demonstrates compassion and understanding. The hijacking of the enculturation process through fear or marketing is going to be our doom, our inability to tolerate difference with result yet again in large swaths of human genetic diversity and difference being wiped off the face of the planet, because people are too afraid to think deeply when they can simply sit back and enjoy their privilege, it disgusts me, and you may claim I am being self righteous, but I am not a saint either, but the difference is, I try to be moral, I try every day of my existence to communicate, I broke myself trying to be “good” when I was never, ever “evil”, Aspergians who have trouble reading faces and cues, when not too severely damaged, struggle as well, the burden of this cannot be left on the shoulders of those disadvantaged to begin with, what morality is in that? But humanity writ large seems to clueless to take a self inventory and hang their head in shame when it is so obvious everyday that we keep hurting each other, and it starts young, we indoctrinate, mold, and damage our youth and somehow expect them to fix our mistakes, that is a recipe for extinction, it is a species imperative that we embrace, nurture, and understand all the difference that can be produced amongst of if we wish to someday escape this rock and explore beyond our home, but hell, folks can’t even explore their own minds properly, so yeah not holding out much hope for that.

Aliens to Each Other

LIFE’S WORK:  right here, distilled to a less than stellar 15 minutes, but I am a verbose bugger, it was a solid attempt.

Gift of the LaughingShadow (no longer available, i killed it)

I am asking all my friends to take the time to look at it, and please do share even if you do not fully understand or agree, because many will, and when you truly get what I am saying it is gut punch folks.  My theory, which is nothing more than an integration of so many varied ideas from so many varied sources it is almost impossible for me to begin to remember every source, I am a great thinker, it is what I do and like a great author or artist, I too steal, and then I integrate. What my theory tells us in short is that we have failed to define a sentient individuals context properly in any culture, that some of us are born who think so differently that we are maladaptive to our family or social context and as a result of misunderstanding and great tragedy we cause great harm, and mental illness is a reflection of this, why some refugees settle into small enclaves instead of just assimilating, how dire our need to begin to understand all the different ways people think. For goodness sake, I can come up with a hypothesis to potentially (maybe even now) test for the ability to see auras…sounds hokey as hell to a lot of us, but if someone is very intuitive, reads people’s faces and body language easily, is most likely very feeling, but I am not gonna say 100%, but is also very visual in their own minds, then yes, their own internal filter could in fact render a visual representation of what they are intuitively noticing about another person. So when we isolate the parts of the mind that are associated with these, and then do some scans of folks who say they see auras, who could potentially say it is plausible. This is but a single, kinda fun and silly example, of truly just how different we think.  I have a ton of labels on me, some would be shocked to hear some and others not shocked at all, I am autistic by the current understanding of the term for example, as my videos explains a bit of, but the behaviors you see from us, barring environmental factors and birth defects that influence how we think, most of what we see and think is often a misunderstanding. Look for Susan Cain’s TED talk on introversion, look at John Oliver’s unrelenting logic, and look to the internet, where I too have turn, a place that must stay neutral so introverts and maladaptives have a forum to search for people they find parity with.  This is too much text as usual, I will post more videos soon if folks think my insights are worth hearing, I earnestly hope so, my life is about communicating, something that took my entire life to be able to do, because I just never fit it, I never got the context.  As someone who is inherently logical, rational, cautious, and ever seeking harmony over depth of feeling….I love you all, but only slightly =P