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jimmy m
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Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 72
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,343
Location: Indiana

24 Aug 2020, 7:41 am

I find it very difficult to communicate. It is not that I don't know the words or thoughts I wish to interject. But rather I find it impossible to sync up in the conversation.

A conversation begins and everyone chips in their ideas and then almost instantly the conversation switches to another subject and then another. For the life of me I find it difficult to determine when it is my turn. If I break into the middle of a conversation, that is frowned upon. If I detect a pause and believe it is my turn, someone else has staked out the next input and I have jumped the queue. Normally I just raise my hand like a schoolboy and wait for the conversation to end so I can interject my comments before it moves onto the next subject. But many times the group misses that hand signal. So after years of being out of sync in conversations, I along with many Aspies just give up and keep our ideas to ourselves.

But they are great ideas and they need to be released.

There was an interesting article about synchronizing our patterns with others:

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In addition to the multiple rhythms that underlie our individual lives, when we come together we tend to "synch" with one another. Whether it be as simple as adjusting the pace of our walking; the give-and-take of our conversation; or as seemingly sophisticated as the murmuration of starlings, it is a biologic phenomenon. How do we entrain, tie together, our independent rhythms?

Synchronization of cells, so that they act in concert, is mediated by the chemistry and electricity, as neural impulses, in their environment. Cytokine storm, a feature of COVID-19 and other abnormal immunologic responses, might be the posterchild of asynchrony. That Internet lag that makes a Zoom conversation less than natural is another example.

Does human synchronization rely solely on the environment and its clues, or is there a behavioral component? Because we are social creatures, the answer has implications to how we share, information, and more pertinent these days, disease. Trying to answer that question was the subject of a study recently published in Nature Communications. Studying synchronization is made difficult because there are so many channels providing information simultaneously. Consider applause by an audience, where rhythmic clapping may result from what you see, hear, and feel. How do you isolate and evaluate each component?

The researchers used a novel method, 16 violinists, sonically isolated by headphones, visually separated by partitions. As each violinist repeated identical musical phrases, the researchers were able to control what they heard, not only from their instrument but from one or two other violinists. The researchers were then able to alter which audio inputs were paired along with their strength and delay.

The researchers first identified a strength of the signal; in this case, the volume of the other violinists playing that assured synchronization. As you might expect, the more connected one individual was with the network, the less volume was necessary to induce synchronization. Multiple weak signals were as powerful as fewer stronger ones.

They then introduced a delay. With small delays, the playing slowed a bit to compensate. When the delay resulted in the violins being half "out of phase," the players synchronized with one following stably behind the other. Longer delays created a "frustrated state," where the violinist couldn't synchronize at all; as a result, the violinist ignored the additional input and returned to their intrinsic playing.

Until this time, the theoretical underpinnings of network theory included a belief that in the presence of "frustration," a network member would split the difference and seek the average, to compromise. But the researchers found that we behaved differently, choosing to ignore the frustrating input. [IMHO, Aspies are the frustrating input.]

Unlike networks of cells, where synchronicity may be achieved by compromise, humans take actions and behave differently. We have seen this in the discussion of the early epidemiologic models of COVID-19 that project high overall mortality because they did not consider that some of the population would spontaneously protect themselves by social distancing.

Put in another context; we ignore what does not coincide with our beliefs. Part of the power of information, in this case, the sound of another violinist, is that it allows us to synchronize with our tribe. But at some deeper behavioral level, when our [Aspie] ability to synch up with our tribe [society at large] is frustrated, by alternative information, we simply chose to ignore it [the contribution of Aspies].

Source: How Do We Synchronize Our Behavior?

"In a state of frustration they don't look for a 'middle', but ignore one of the inputs. This is a critical phenomenon that is changing the dynamics of the network."
-------------------------Moti Fridman, PhD


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