A previous long-term romantic partner, who is a clinical psychologist, used to jokingly diagnose me with being on the lower end of the Autism spectrum, as she thought aspects of my behaviour were consistent with Asperger’s syndrome.
You’re mistaken, I would respond. I’m a genius (or at least I have an exceptional IQ). The two share some characteristics, but also have some significant differences. This conversation happened long ago but it came rushing back to me recently when I watched the video embedded below, which I found via Twitter courtesy of Jayne.
Apart from the exposure shown in the video, which is not relevant, what I find most interesting is its demonstration of an obsessive attention and eye for detail, which I definitely relate to. It’s the first example I’ve seen that I can use to explain low latent inhibition, which I believe I possess. I certainly don’t consider myself to be neurotypical.
Latent inhibition is a ‘tendency to disregard or even inhibit formation of memory, by preventing associative learning of observed stimuli, is an unconscious response and is assumed to prevent sensory overload and cognitive overload.’
Having low latent inhibition means being unable to block out irrelevant stimuli. So like a person with autism, I see every cigarette in the gutter, every car wheel, every parallel line in a metal grate embedded in the footpath. I can’t switch it off.
Fortunately for me:
Those of above average intelligence are thought to be capable of processing this stream effectively, enabling their creativity. Those with less than average intelligence, on the other hand, are less able to cope, and so as a result are more likely to suffer from mental illness and sensory overload.
When I’m out with friends, they wonder why I keep stopping to take photos. It’s because I’ve seen some little sticker or example of street art or some other random thing that amuses me that they didn’t notice. It’s what enables me to write 2 posts a day.