Do NTs have an automatic rejection mechanism??

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Jayo
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14 Jun 2021, 9:22 pm

I'm pretty sure this topic or variants thereof have been bandied about in some way on WP...but here goes...

I've read elsewhere that, apparently - based on the programming of evo-psych (evolutionary psychology) that neurotypical humans are able to "size up" people they first meet within like 50-500ms and form a judgement about them - which, as many studies have attested to, can be wildly inaccurate.

But this is still how 99% of the world operates, so it explains why it was a lonely time during our young adult years when we had to be friendless "incels" (a word that predates my time, as my early-mid-20s were in the 1990s - but the label sure applied to me then). Like I had a neon sign on me that said "MUST...AVOID...WEIRDO ALERT..."

This one paragraph from an article in particular resonated with me:
Based on the responses of “typically developing” (TD) peers, our facial expressions are wrong, our eye contact is wrong, our gestures are wrong, our distance is wrong, and our voices are wrong. How many “wrongs” can we correct through conscious effort? Not many, because conscious effort requires more than the 50–500 milliseconds we have to make a good impression. We start off poorly with people and our reactions to the rejection lead to yet more rejection and alienation.

Famed author Malcolm Gladwell refers to this mechanism as "thin-slicing", and it's clearly an NT thing as our condition robs us of the situational processing power to seamlessly combine ToM, nonverbals, and "the big picture". Which are more or less essential ingredients of fluid social interaction.

I read an article called "Autistics make others uncomfortable - instantly", but given my experience it seemed like hyperbole... I had some sad and lonely times and lots of unspoken rejection (like nonverbal signs of "you're a weirdo, just go away and hide somewhere") during my young adult years BUT once I was diagnosed at 27, I was able to mask much more successfully and didn't give off those vibes as much b/c apparently I had more sustained female partners, made a few more friends, and made a lateral move in my company with people who didn't appear hostile towards me at all (except one older woman, but she was really crabby in general).

In that sad article, the author said he was forced to take online courses at his university (pre-COVID, mind), b/c his prof and other students were uncomfortable around him. 8O

I can totally understand that repeated rejection can cause one to give off those "creepy loser/weirdo" vibes, like the 1000-yard stare, the deer look, the woe is me I'm doomed kind of look, the I'm like a fish out of water all the time look, and repeated rejection just reinforces those non-verbals unconsciously, which is something most NTs never had to deal with. So it becomes a vicious circle, a self-fulfilling prophecy. While I experienced painful rejection and prejudice, I can't say it went as far in uni that they banned me from the class and insisted I do virtual learning - so I can understand why the author has a far more pessimistic outlook than I did, that "everyone is made uncomfortable instantly from autistics". I carried on small talk and conversations with people at uni here and there, and didn't monopolize class discussions & go on tangents (as some ASD folks might have), but yes there were times when a group of people would see me approach and they'd cast anxious glances at each other then walk away 8O so I do understand the feeling, but the only circumstance in which I believe in "automatic thin-slicing rejection" is for someone who's been completely beaten down by rejection and has very limited masking ability OR has had little opportunity to practice socializing sufficiently. I don't believe it's an absolute truth.



Joe90
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15 Jun 2021, 4:03 am

NTs aren't 99% of the population, how many more times?


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Cuppacoffee
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15 Jun 2021, 5:54 pm

Maybe we do have an automatic rejection mechanism, but that does not mean to say it is an anti-autistic rejection mechanism.
I very rarely come across someone who sets off my alarm bells.
The last time I did (6 years back), my "gut instinct" should have been adhered to, but I cast it aside, believing everyone deserves a chance.
The person in question (a neighbour) proved my compassionate side wrong, as she and her children / semi-step children were aggressive, told lies, and were partially responsible for the hell that we had to endure in our previous neighbourhood.
Thank God we are now somewhere nicer, but unfortunately the kids still attend the same school, and the lies and hate still perpetuate... despite the fact that I'd helped her lost child, (even after all the hardship she'd put on us).
I think that the main thing I noticed was her face / eyes. She looked shady, her expression was sour, and her smile appeared fake. I'd rather see no smile than a fake one.
That was my last "automatic rejection" experience. I must have walked past plenty of people since then.
I'd say (from experience) that if you get that feeling you should roll with it.



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15 Jun 2021, 10:28 pm

I think most people - and NTs as well, and perhaps even more - only want to hang around with people they deem like themselves in whatever way. They might like you/us in some particular way, for some particular thing, but still never make or allow you to be part of their "tribe" because you're different in ways they think are important.

Like one coworker at work one time said "I just love working with you. You're so funny [she meant in a good way], and you know so much you're great to have as a coworker. Ok, well, see you later! The rest of us are going to lunch!" And she and they all left me there by myself.

So, like I was good to have around for a few laughs now and again, and because I could help when others were stuck and needed help on something. But I was never able/allowed to join their group. They didn't hate me or anything. I just wasn't "them".

Other places have been worse. Like my current job - no one on the team even speaks to me, unless they are saying something mean or stupid. But I think it's the same problem - I'm just not "them". In this case, these people are just meaner than the other coworkers.


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16 Jun 2021, 12:46 am

Quote:
Like one coworker at work one time said "I just love working with you. You're so funny [she meant in a good way], and you know so much you're great to have as a coworker. Ok, well, see you later! The rest of us are going to lunch!" And she and they all left me there by myself.


This sounds sadly familiar to me. Talk about feeling left out and socially isolated. This is why I hate being on the spectrum and why I wouldn't want to pass on this cruel s**t to my children if I had any. :cry:


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autisticelders
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16 Jun 2021, 4:12 am

have you heard of the "uncanny valley"?( something to search on the internet to learn more) It is usually applied to people's discomfort around robots meant to resemble humans but also extends to puppets, dolls, and others who are somehow "not natural" in ways that prompt instinctive rejection response. It is probably part of "natural selection" instincts that are built into all of us from primitive beginnings of humans. I think the sensitivity is stronger in some individuals than others. I guess it is nothing I worry about much.



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16 Jun 2021, 5:10 am

Cuppacoffee wrote:
That was my last "automatic rejection" experience. I must have walked past plenty of people since then. I'd say (from experience) that if you get that feeling you should roll with it.

I have a theory that many NTs get these feelings more easily and have faith in them more, even if there is no validity to them. Many Aspies set off the NT's 'alarm bells,' and the NT responds by avoiding or ostracizing the Aspie. In turn, the Aspie may be surprised and offended.

I think with us, it's the exact opposite. We rely more on intellect than gut instinct. And the few occasions where gut instinct tells us something is off, we may dismiss it, as we've been erroneously profiled by others before. Irony is, our rare gut instinct is probably more accurate than the NT's frequent and reactionary gut instinct, so we actually should pay more attention to it.

But since it's rarer for us, and since we're so used to relying on our minds and thought process to figure things out socially, and since we've been the victims of inaccurate assumptions, we don't know how to respond to our gut instinct or we dismiss it.



Joe90
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16 Jun 2021, 5:22 am

autisticelders wrote:
have you heard of the "uncanny valley"?( something to search on the internet to learn more) It is usually applied to people's discomfort around robots meant to resemble humans but also extends to puppets, dolls, and others who are somehow "not natural" in ways that prompt instinctive rejection response. It is probably part of "natural selection" instincts that are built into all of us from primitive beginnings of humans. I think the sensitivity is stronger in some individuals than others. I guess it is nothing I worry about much.


Yes I have, which is why I just don't like adult babies. But usually as an Aspie I've been scolded by other Aspies not to judge people and to tolerate everybody, I suppose we will be hypocrites if we did judge.


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Jayo
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16 Jun 2021, 9:55 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
Cuppacoffee wrote:
That was my last "automatic rejection" experience. I must have walked past plenty of people since then. I'd say (from experience) that if you get that feeling you should roll with it.

I have a theory that many NTs get these feelings more easily and have faith in them more, even if there is no validity to them. Many Aspies set off the NT's 'alarm bells,' and the NT responds by avoiding or ostracizing the Aspie. In turn, the Aspie may be surprised and offended.

I think with us, it's the exact opposite. We rely more on intellect than gut instinct. And the few occasions where gut instinct tells us something is off, we may dismiss it, as we've been erroneously profiled by others before. Irony is, our rare gut instinct is probably more accurate than the NT's frequent and reactionary gut instinct, so we actually should pay more attention to it.

But since it's rarer for us, and since we're so used to relying on our minds and thought process to figure things out socially, and since we've been the victims of inaccurate assumptions, we don't know how to respond to our gut instinct or we dismiss it.


I TOTALLY agree with this!! ! I always looked at it as those of us with ASD/HFA having a more enlightened "innocent until proven guilty" approach to initial interactions with people; but NTs tend to have a more visceral "I cast thee out" thin-sliced reaction 8O :( :x

But this is why psychopaths can so easily bypass the "radar" of both ASD and NT people.



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16 Jun 2021, 9:57 am

A base error in data nullifies all conclusions.


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Jayo
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16 Jun 2021, 9:57 am

Joe90 wrote:
autisticelders wrote:
have you heard of the "uncanny valley"?( something to search on the internet to learn more) It is usually applied to people's discomfort around robots meant to resemble humans but also extends to puppets, dolls, and others who are somehow "not natural" in ways that prompt instinctive rejection response. It is probably part of "natural selection" instincts that are built into all of us from primitive beginnings of humans. I think the sensitivity is stronger in some individuals than others. I guess it is nothing I worry about much.


Yes I have, which is why I just don't like adult babies. But usually as an Aspie I've been scolded by other Aspies not to judge people and to tolerate everybody, I suppose we will be hypocrites if we did judge.


I have definitely heard of the uncanny valley, and how the Wiki source claims that paradoxically, based on this effect, people on the autistic spectrum may be doing themselves more harm than good in forcibly adapting. IME, this was true earlier on in my 20s but through practice / analysis / reflection, I managed to get it better and avoid tripping alarm bells instinctively. I had my own apartment and rehearsed expressions in the mirror alongside romcoms and such that I played on my DVD/TV, went on dates and things gradually happened :)



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16 Jun 2021, 10:00 am

Joe90 wrote:
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Like one coworker at work one time said "I just love working with you. You're so funny [she meant in a good way], and you know so much you're great to have as a coworker. Ok, well, see you later! The rest of us are going to lunch!" And she and they all left me there by myself.


This sounds sadly familiar to me. Talk about feeling left out and socially isolated. This is why I hate being on the spectrum and why I wouldn't want to pass on this cruel s**t to my children if I had any. :cry:


^^THIS. That's the story of most of my working life (I'm in my late 40s now), where I'd get compliments just like that, but somehow wasn't deemed "good enough" to go to lunch with the in-crowd (sigh, memories of high school!!)
As a result, I wasn't tuned into the grapevine and would be the last to hear about certain things, like someone being pregnant, or switching jobs, or what-have-you - which was kind of embarrassing, but the cliques were to blame - I mean, heck, talk about lack of Theory of Mind...if you deliberately exclude someone from the informal loops, how the f*** can you expect them to know these things???! Geeze...
:x



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16 Jun 2021, 10:06 am

As a Gen-X-er who's been around for a while now, I have captured a window of insight into the auto-rejection mechanism in NTs - it didn't make sense to me in my younger adult years (back in the 90s, I was basically an "incel" though that term hadn't been coined yet) - but when others of our age group would lay eyes on us, it would no doubt viscerally conjure up images of mental illness, stigma, the dilat / untouchables, the lepers of society...they probably seamlessly blended those images with a wild-eyed homeless meth addict, or paranoid schizophrenic...based on some intense or vacant "look" in our eyes, our rigid posture, stationary muscles around our jawline, perhaps shabbily dressed (due to the "absent minded professor" part of our presentation) - so they make those snap judgements that we are the unwashed who have no social value. :(



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16 Jun 2021, 10:49 am

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^^THIS. That's the story of most of my working life (I'm in my late 40s now), where I'd get compliments just like that, but somehow wasn't deemed "good enough" to go to lunch with the in-crowd (sigh, memories of high school!!)
As a result, I wasn't tuned into the grapevine and would be the last to hear about certain things, like someone being pregnant, or switching jobs, or what-have-you - which was kind of embarrassing, but the cliques were to blame - I mean, heck, talk about lack of Theory of Mind...if you deliberately exclude someone from the informal loops, how the f*** can you expect them to know these things???! Geeze...


It's a difficult situation because if you're the type of Aspie to naturally be interested in gossip and stuff but nobody tells you things, you feel you have to manually find things out yourself, which then causes people to call you nosy. I've been called nosy for this exact reason and it is so upsetting. The trick NTs have is to build up a good enough relationship with people to be able to find out things without having to ask, but it's how to get there in the beginning.


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Jayo
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16 Jun 2021, 12:14 pm

Joe90 wrote:
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^^THIS. That's the story of most of my working life (I'm in my late 40s now), where I'd get compliments just like that, but somehow wasn't deemed "good enough" to go to lunch with the in-crowd (sigh, memories of high school!!)
As a result, I wasn't tuned into the grapevine and would be the last to hear about certain things, like someone being pregnant, or switching jobs, or what-have-you - which was kind of embarrassing, but the cliques were to blame - I mean, heck, talk about lack of Theory of Mind...if you deliberately exclude someone from the informal loops, how the f*** can you expect them to know these things???! Geeze...


It's a difficult situation because if you're the type of Aspie to naturally be interested in gossip and stuff but nobody tells you things, you feel you have to manually find things out yourself, which then causes people to call you nosy. I've been called nosy for this exact reason and it is so upsetting. The trick NTs have is to build up a good enough relationship with people to be able to find out things without having to ask, but it's how to get there in the beginning.


Yeah, EXACTLY!! Because FOR THEM, it's like a self-serving feedback loop, a perverse form of confirmation bias, whereby they can snicker to themselves and say "see, look, he/she really doesn't get it..." all because you didn't obtain the minimum "passmark" to be part of that silly clique from the get-go. :roll: