Musk recently revealed this, and autism researchers seek to use it to advance understanding of the unique traits and different minds of people on the autistic stream
By Punit Shah Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Bath, Luca Hargitay, PhD student in psychology, University of Bath, andLucy Ann Livingston, Lecturer in Psychology, King's College London
The business magnate and the new owner of Twitter Elon Musk Revealed some time ago who is autistic Musk, the richest man in the world, is autistic. musk, Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society and man Time's year for 2021, is autistic. One of the most famous people on the planet is autistic. Maybe you should internalize it?
As autism researchers, we think it's important To raise awareness of autism and improve the attitude towards it. Today it is increasing The assessment of "neural diversity" in society, especially in the science and technology sector. In the past there has been a discussion about how people, like environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg, can be Great activists due to their autistic traits (although There is no statistical relationship between autism and the quality of the environment).
It is surprising, then, that there has been so little discussion of Musk's autism. Not only will this be useful for understanding Musk, who is now an influential but increasingly criticized figure, but it may also do much to highlight the strengths and difficulties associated with autism.
It is important to remember that he does not represent the autistic population nor the general population. But, if we believe that individual experiences matter, Musk's story is an opportunity to learn about him, along with autism and neurodiversity. Considering his influential position in society, it is worth trying to understand Musk and not remove the issue from the public discourse and miss the opportunity.
Musk shared stories about his social difficulties as a child. He reports bullying and that "Almost beaten to death" for being different. in the movie Documentary, Musk's mother speaks of him as a "young genius", but also a shy and awkward boy with no friends. Musk has what psychologists call a "developmental history" of possession Autistic characteristics and negative experiences of non-acceptance in childhood.
The abuse leveled at Musk for being autistic continued into adulthood, when he was a Twitter executive called him "He has really special needs" and "Looney Tune". This unfortunately reflects the The bullying that people on the autistic spectrum face with her in the workplace and more generally.
Such hostility is thought to partially explain why people on the autistic spectrum face The highest unemployment rates among all disabled groups. Musk is in a much stronger position to protect himself than most. But the bullying he's experienced throughout his life may explain his defensive and combative attitude on Twitter.
It's also worth remembering that even though Musk seems emotionally robust, there's often more going on beneath the surface for autistic and emotionally abnormal people. Our research shows that people on the autistic spectrum Psychologically exhausting coping strategies are used, such as "masking" or hiding their authentic self, which may worsen mental health. This is why autism is consideredinvisible disability".
Autism is also sometimes related to a verbal way of thinking. This is reflected in the fact that Musk physically carried a bathroom sink into the Twitter headquarters, which he recently took ownership of, as an illustration of the common phrase "let that sink in" (play on words in English: let that sink in).
It was, of course, a publicity stunt, but it may also have been a comical nod to the fact that many idioms don't really make sense. The non-verbal use of such words does not necessarily come naturally to people on the autistic spectrum.
While some people understand and appreciate this unconventional style of humor, many may find it strange or inappropriate. This probably contributed to the polarized opinions about Musk, which may reflect in part Differences in humor between autistics and non-autistics, as shown by studies.
In his appearance on the satire show Saturday Night Live, Musk himself responded On how his autistic communication style can be unusual and humorous: "I don't always have a lot of intonation or variation in the way I speak...what they say to me sounds like great comedy."
An unusual way of speaking indeed has been linked to autism in research. For example, people on the autistic spectrum may have different acoustic properties of their speech, such as pitch, which can make them seem blunt or rude. This is how Musk may also be perceived following the acquisition of the social media giant Twitter.
Musk's achievements may also reflect autistic strengths in science and technology that should be celebrated. In an interview last year He talked about So he discovered that "spending the night alone programming computers is rewarding".
This devotion to specific interests, rather than socially conventional activities such as playing with friends in childhood, may explain why some Of the people on the autistic continuum there are extraordinary talents And sometimes they can Beat non-autistic people in certain tasks. The research on this is sparse but growing.
Being one of the world's most famous autistic people always raises autism awareness. This is what researchers Charity organizations And the autism community has been trying to do for decades. Bearing in mind that an autistic musk can advance this effort, it may be worthwhile.
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