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Autism and Responses to Auditory Stimuli
Autism and Responses to Auditory Stimuli
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Old 30th April 2018, 09:28 PM   #1
spaceistheplace is online now spaceistheplace
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Autism and Responses to Auditory Stimuli
Default Autism and Responses to Auditory Stimuli

Someone who had been diagnosed on the autistic spectrum was recently listening to music with me and it provided some insights that I hadn’t considered before. I thought perhaps some here might be interested in it, or could further illuminate for everyone’s benefit.

These were cursory observations in an uncontrolled, casual environment however they were clear enough to me to warrant some thought and further research.

Their sensitivity/response to various musical information was strikingly different to mine, even though we shared taste and listened to music we were both familiar with.

For example, they found certain sounds (in one instance a bell) distasteful, shrill and unpleasant while I felt the opposite. I hesitate to go into a long list specific differences as I think it will derail my point and place too much focus on this specific encounter rather than looking at is as indicative of a wider phenomena.

Obviously this is one person in one sliver of the population, however I noticed a lot of different academic articles on the subject which might point to possibilities in unpacking the difference in preferences of the general population.

I’m not suggested that those with strong preferences are somehow autistic. I’m also not discounting various biases and sociological/ psychological explanations for preferences. I’m simply saying that there could be other forces at work and this body of research in Autism and auditory stimuli could provide some insights.

Also, other sensory research such as that into Tetrachromacy could provide additional useful data. How can I be certain the blue I see when I look up in the sky is the same hue as yours?

My arm-chair theory (I’m certainly not a neurologist!) is that like a loudspeaker might be +3db at 15khz, our ears, or rather more importantly the CNS / behavioral response to and “interpretation” of the input from our ears might give us varying behavioral / emotional responses depending on biological differences in the population.

In this way a microphone capturing a frequency response from a loudspeaker in a room would not accurately measure the experience of that frequency response from the listener.

So, I’m not looking to get in the murky debate about those with “better hearing” or “Golden ears” but rather “different hearing”.

Of course, mood or a few cocktails can alter our experience as well. I’m more curious if there is a varying baseline, and to use outliers to make some hypotheses about variations in the general population.

Again, I’m not making any claims. Im not arguing that there is no point in designing for an accurate frequency response.

I’m offering a very interesting experience I had and wanted to hear input from others who may have more knowledge in this field.

I think there are implications for a lot of the more “circuitous” conversations that sprawl throughout the forum. My hope is that this conversation not descend into armed encampments separated by a moat.

But my greatest hope would be that the unique wealth of experience and skill in this forum could lead to some tangible benefit for a suffering population of people.


Some references:

https://www.asha.org/Events/conventi...e-Differences/

Autonomic and behavioral responses of children with autism to auditory stimuli. - PubMed - NCBI

Describing the sensory abnormalities of children and adults with autism. - PubMed - NCBI

Autistic people can hear more than most – which can be a strength and a challenge


Tetrachromacy:

BBC - Future - The women with superhuman vision

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/dec/15...a-dimension-c/
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Old 1st May 2018, 03:40 AM   #2
spaceistheplace is online now spaceistheplace
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Autism and Responses to Auditory Stimuli
Also, if any members here have been diagnosed with autism and feel comfortable discussing their personal experiences as it relates to the above, it would be welcomed.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 12:56 AM   #3
Alexandre is offline Alexandre
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Originally Posted by spaceistheplace View Post
Of course, mood or a few cocktails can alter our experience as well.
Many things can have an effect on the auditory experience. I find that food can alter it. Exercise and recovery from it can change things too.

It is bi-directional: great music on a good sounding system can alter your experience with food. Not only the experience, but the actual meal in my case. Good sound can get me going and motivate me to make some salad and fruit juice before cooking a regular meal (say, chicken and rice). It also helps me to better digest, believe it or not. To get well nourished and feel healthy.

Did you see the article DPH has posted on the Blowtorch thread? Justice is served, but more so after lunch: how food-breaks sway the decisions of judges - Not Exactly Rocket Science : Not Exactly Rocket Science

I see my post is not exactly on the proposed topic, but...

-Alex

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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:58 AM   #4
Alexandre is offline Alexandre
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I really enjoyed it, very touching, thanks.
BTW I don´t fry my chicken in the common vegetable oils. Lard or coconut oil for my frying, please.

-Alex

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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:43 AM   #5
MarcelvdG is offline MarcelvdG  Netherlands
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I have Asperger's, which counts as a minor autistic disorder, but I don't suffer from it. It is sometimes unhandy when I try to communicate with people without autism, but it also has its advantages, such as attention to details and being less vulnerable to social pressure.

I don't think there is anything special about my perception of music. I very much dislike fast classical piano music and Andre Hazes, but that's about it.

People with autism filter out less details subconsciously than people without autism. I can imagine that affects their perception of music, but maybe I'm not autistic enough to see a big difference.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 10:42 AM   #6
spaceistheplace is online now spaceistheplace
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Autism and Responses to Auditory Stimuli
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexandre View Post
The Basement Tapes
What is a son’s obligation to his father?
Revisionist History Podcast


Yes I’ve listened to that one.

The largest government funded double blind health study (I believe) in the history of our planet was found to be seriously flawed and provided nutritional misinformation to the general public for decades.

That doesn’t give me much faith in the ABX audio testing, even though in many instances they serve a purpose and are a firewall for snake oil.

Nonetheless, it at the very least would be wise to be more scientifically thorough and consider all other possible variable not previously considered, of which there are many and which are presently not well understood.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 10:45 AM   #7
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Autism and Responses to Auditory Stimuli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcelvdG View Post
I have Asperger's, which counts as a minor autistic disorder, but I don't suffer from it. It is sometimes unhandy when I try to communicate with people without autism, but it also has its advantages, such as attention to details and being less vulnerable to social pressure.

I don't think there is anything special about my perception of music. I very much dislike fast classical piano music and Andre Hazes, but that's about it.

People with autism filter out less details subconsciously than people without autism. I can imagine that affects their perception of music, but maybe I'm not autistic enough to see a big difference.

Thanks for the insights.

I’m curious if there’s there’s a higher autistic spectrum density in the field of audio engineering or in the audio hobby.

Did you by chance review any of the studies I posted?

It seems a lot more complex to me than detail filtering from what I’ve read. In some instances, detail exacerbation / hypersensitivity.


Edit: for example some selected differences:

Autistic people were better at detecting additional unexpected and expected sounds (increased distraction and superior performance respectively). This suggests that they have increased auditory perceptual capacity relative to non-autistic people. This increased capacity may offer an explanation for the auditory superiorities seen in autism (e.g. heightened pitch detection).

Higher cerebral reactivity to the deviance which may reflect hypersensitivity to acoustic change

Differences in MSO/LSO (Time and Intensity Differences)

Differences in Inferior Olive (integration of visual and auditory information)
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Old 3rd May 2018, 11:42 AM   #8
tsmith1315 is offline tsmith1315  United States
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My 16 year old son has Asperger's. BTW, since the introduction of Obamacare in the US, there is no medical CPT code for Aspeger's separately, so his diagnosis is autism.

Just so you know where he is on the spectrum. He's high functioning, most people would just think he's a little weird. Math has become his world in the last year or two, with science close behind. He's kept a perfect 100 average in honors algebra, and is learning trig and calculus on his own at the same time. A nerd. He has a terrible time saying what he wants to, it is impossible to be succinct. Absolutely nothing can be said in one sentence. Writing about a subject is his worst enemy, there is no abstract thought.


He never cared for music until about 13 years old, when he found disco. We have listened to the the same 4 CD's for the last 3-1/2 years when he's in the car, because that's his music. Routine. We must listen at a volume equivalent to normal speech. Loud music is shocking.

Loud noises have always bothered him waaay more than a normal person. As a little boy, I though he was over reacting, as a spoiled child. But smells are the same way. It's as if he doesn't hear or smell on the same logarithmic scale as we do. Highly dynamic music is not acceptable.

I haven't noticed any frequency-specific aversions, except for high-pitched ringing and such.

-Tim
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Old 3rd May 2018, 01:19 PM   #9
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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I knew someone with autism, he was seriously into telephones and could tell the numbers dialled by the tones however fast. My sympathy to all who have to deal with autistic people.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 03:07 PM   #10
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Autism and Responses to Auditory Stimuli
There seems to be a large range in the general population. Not sure if it's ears or brains or both. Given my age and location, I should love rock-n-roll. But I don't and never did - because of the screaming guitar distortion. Really shredding it? I'll run screaming from the room. Bad violin recordings do the same for me.

But I have friends who are even more sensitive to bad treble than I am, and who are constantly on the search for that magic amp/speaker combo. The bell mentioned in the OP would drive them mad. I don't know why the difference.
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