## Monday, 25 April 2011

### It's official I've got Asperger's

Courtesy of Nilo it would appear according to this test I've got Asperger's syndrome

http://www.piepalace.ca/blog/asperger-test-aq-test/

I got 34 definitely in the Asperger's zone according to the test. A lot of my colleagues, joke at work that they have Asperger's, indeed one couldn't achieve anything in our work if we didn't have the ability to work on our own, and put up with a lot of boring tedious and repetive tasks and pay attention to detail. On a more general point if one wants to achieve anything intellectual, then one needs to spend a lot of time on one's own trying out ideas and  reading. If one has a full time job then it stands to reason that juggling the demands of OU study means that one's social life is bound to take a back burner.

As I commented on Nilo's blog it seems to me that the rise of this syndrome is partly due to the lack of appreciation of a person's intellectual abilities. Also it  reflects societies fear of people who are quite happy on their own and have an intellectual skill which they do not. It's interesting that it's scientist's mathematicians and engineers that are usually accused of having Asperger's syndrome. Whilst artist's, composer's and writer's who have the same lack of social skill's as mathematicians scientists and engineers are not considered Aspergic.

Our society seems to place a high value on superficial beauty, or wealth and a low value on things that really matter. Labelling people as Aspergic simply because they do not fit in with the norms of society does not help. As a final point muddying the waters between Asperger's and Autism will not help find a cure for Autism.

1. Don't you have to use Bayes' law to estimate the probability you have Aspbergers syndrome (AS) given a score > 32? In other words, let
+/- = event you are "positive"/"negative" for AS
G/L = event you score "greater"/"less than" 32
then
P(+|G) = P(G|+)P(+)/{P(G|+)P(+)+P(G|-)P(-)}
It is claimed that
P(G|+)=0.8
It is estimated that
P(+)=2.6x10^(-4)
but what is missing is P(G|-).
A commonly found source associated with this test says it is not uncommon for people who are not + to have scores > 32, hence P(G|-) >> 0, which suggest that P(+|G) is probably pretty small.
This problem is a very common one in statistics (especially medical statistics).

2. Thank you I don't believe I have Asperger's I was just highlighting the dangers of quick assessments being made on the basis of such questionaires. It is true that in general I prefer my own company and can't stand social chit chat. Just imagine if there were more people interested in mathematics physics and the Arts than say football or fashion or chit chat about celebrities then those people who are interested in such rubbish would be labelled as eccentric or diagnosed as having a mild form of
some psychological disorder.

At least with the internet it is relatively easy to find like minded people.

3. Well put Chris. It is sad that so often what is different from the herd is labeled as something that is somehow "strange" or "wrong". As I get older, however, I find the words of Einstein ring true for me, "I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity".
Matt

4. Yes I believe the ability to live on ones own for extended periods is essential, think of all the people who base their whole self esteem on whether or not they are in a relationship when the relationship breaks down they have nothing.
And as is regularly reported in the press extreme cases usually end up with the jilted partner resorting to violence, killing the other person and even their children.

Whereas a love of mathematics, physics and the Arts is something no one can take away from you.
I believe it was Ibsen who said the strongest man is he who is alone.

5. I got 221 once on a test for autism.

I was very interested by that result because it is the product of two prime numbers.

Lots of people now base their self-esteem on how many friends they have on Facebook.

6. As some one pointed out on the M208 forum I can show most mathematicians are Autistic. A common feature of people with Autism is the ability to memorise long strings of numbers such as the decimal expansion of $$\pi$$ to say 100 decimal places. well I can do better I know the decimal expansion of 1\3 to as many decimal places as you like and the same for many fractions. Thus I and many other people must be autistic or have Aspergers