How come I have autism and schizophrenia

Intelligence, schizophrenia and autism

But not only physical disorders change the ability to correctly perceive “I” and the point of view of others, some mental illnesses also do this.

(Not) a question of intelligence

This has been shown in studies investigating the effects of intelligence on the ability to attribute thoughts. In the false belief test, normal children older than 4 years were compared with children who suffer from Down syndrome or autism. Children with Down syndrome usually have a very low IQ. A group of autistic people suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, on the other hand, develops normal or even above-average intelligence.

Autism: When the other remains hidden as if behind a mask © SXC

The result of the study was that both normal children and children suffering from Down syndrome passed the false belief test by around 85-90 percent, while in the case of autistic children, conversely, 80 percent failed the test. The ability to ascribe thoughts is therefore an independent cognitive competence that is not linked to normal intelligence. Children with Asperger's Syndrome are quite capable of learning explicitly how to behave in certain situations. However, if they are confronted with a slightly changed situation, which is part of everyday life, then they are helpless because they do not have an intuitive assessment of the wishes and opinions of the other person.

Schizophrenia: where does the voice come from?

The two-stage nature of ego disorders illustrates another example: In schizophrenia, an important symptom is thought inspiration: the patient grasps a thought and experiences it as the thought of the bad neighbor. The basis of this phenomenon is first and foremost a disturbed experience of the self, which can also be identified when “hearing voices”.

Some patients suffering from schizophrenia hear voices but know that these voices, which they do not perceive as belonging to the ego, are produced by their own brain and are not attributed to others. For others, on the other hand, a changed attribution of the recorded thoughts or the voices heard develops. So they come to the "crazy" assessment that the recorded thought is to be assigned to the bad neighbor.

In order to properly analyze our understanding of ourselves and others and thus to better understand these and other disorders and to be able to treat them more appropriately, a lot of research is necessary. The challenge for interdisciplinary research in philosophy, psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience is to further explore the theoretical and empirical foundations of the ego. In any case, RUB researchers Albert Newen and Leon de Bruin want to continue to do so.

RUBIN / Albert Newen, Leon de Bruin
Status: 04/29/2011

April 29, 2011