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Context Blindness - A New Understanding of Autism Which Relates to CFS as Well

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by Hip, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    A new understanding of autism has recently been conceived by psychologists Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell. They explain that a basic characteristic of autism is context blindness (caetextia). Context blindness is defined as follows:

    Caetextia context blindness caused by an inability to keep track of multiple interconnecting variables and to reprioritise any change in those variables by referring to a wider field that contains the history of them. This causes people with caetextia to resort to one of two mental modus operandi: logical, straight-line thinking or thinking by random associations. See here.

    Griffin and Tyrrell also think think that some degree of caetextia applies in CFS, where there are difficulties in thinking contextually. See Caetextia and CFS.

    I certainly can vouch for the fact that I have more difficulty in tuning into the context, ethos, or ambience of people, books, movies and places.

    I used to have very strong sense of place, and I would very readily tune into the spirit or vibe of a place or situation. I'd love the unique atmosphere you get in old churches, old buildings, etc.

    But now with CFS, my brain just can't feel this that well anymore. So places I go to, and movies I watch seem much more one-dimensional, as I cannot so easily grasp or perceive the interconnected web of details and nuances that add together to give the context, ambience, ethos or spirit.

    Anyone else relate to this?
  2. Marco

    Marco Grrrrrrr!

    Near Cognac, France
    Pot, kettle, black?

    Seriously though, I've been banging on lately about the possibility of a neurological sensory gating deficit playing a role in both autism and ME/CFS. This would provide a more straightforward and testable explanation for difficulties in grasping the 'big picture' plus many of our physical symptoms.
  3. Battery Muncher

    Battery Muncher Senior Member

    I think you're on to something Marco. It seems to make so much sense.

    Hip: Thanks for posting this. The change in personality (after developing ME) is something that I'm only starting to recognise. Something that really struck me was "This causes people with caetextia to resort to one of two mental modus operandi: logical, straight-line thinking or thinking by random associations. "

    I find I do this all the time now! It's nothing like how I used to think. In particular, I have a hard time 'filling in gaps' now. If something doesn't follow in a straight logical line, I get confused. I'm also really picky about words - whereas I used to automatically pick up the meanings of words/sentences from their context, now I get confused and frustrated if people don't take care to define the words they are using accurately. By contrast, I used to be very 'intuitionist'. I just went with the flow.

    I had some other observations but I got distracted I now I can't remember them. Maybe it'll come back to me. Having a very 'fuzzy' day :p
  4. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

    I can relate to much of what you guys are discussing here.

    My thinking is very random for sure. No doubt more so as I get sicker.

    I'm also intuitive, because I just can't remember or do any straight line thinking I must rely on intuition. I'm actually just realizing how intuitive I am, and it is quite exceptional. I've always had it, but I rely on my intuitive brain muscle as time goes on.

    I get totally screwed up when the "vibe" of the place I'm in is "bad" now that I'm sicker. It affects me terribly, and makes me feel miserable, scared, irritable, and depressed. Especially uneasy when the vibe is bad. I think you just saved me big bucks from getting CBT :)Retro eek:) to figure this out!

    I'm pretty out of touch about the vibe of other people mostly. But places I can feel.

    I was thinking about moving, and now understand how the right type of location is required for me to exist.
    L'engle likes this.
  5. allyann

    allyann Senior Member

    Melbourne Australia
    too true. I feel the vibe of different places too, but expecially from people. I am not good around toxic people.

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