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Elon Musk: How being autistic can make him think differently

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

Elon Musk and his vision of manned flight to Mars. Image:
Elon Musk and his vision of manned flight to Mars. Image:

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".

Verbal thinking

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.

For an article in The Conversation

More of the topic in Hayadan:

22 תגובות

  1. Gives autists like us a bad name. Posing as a technological revolutionary in order to inflate his ego (and the stocks, especially the stocks).
    Investors forget that he promises and doesn't deliver again and again and again.
    Promises electric trucks soon even though in reality they barely carry because they have tons of batteries to carry in addition to themselves and the actual cargo.
    Soon promises vacuum tubes as if they were his own brilliant idea even though they were an idea from a century ago that never came to fruition because they were technologically impractical so what he did was throw some electric taxi drivers in a congested tunnel. All to screw up the plans for public transportation, the number one enemy of a private car manufacturer.
    Soon promises breakdancing robots even though what he presents on stage is a poor automaton that needs the help of 4 stage assistants to move and massive video editing to barely carry a crate.
    Soon promises reusable rocket engines and journeys to a stable orbit around the Earth at a price 10 times cheaper even though their structural strength deteriorates catastrophically quickly under the extreme temperatures like any rocket engine so there is practically no reuse.
    He promises autonomous cars soon even though the regulatory bodies do not approve them and time and time again we see how they lose direction and almost outrun them.
    I promise soon... a lot of things. And he also gives dates! again and again and again
    Messiah Ben David is not, neither is Tesla or Edison or von Braun. All he knows is to take money and put it here or there and then make promises.
    Eventually the stock-bubble will burst and peace be upon Israel.

  2. He is mild Asperger's. Quite a few talented people in the world, even artists, are in this sequence.

    They should be separated from autistics, because the difference is essential. That the latest DSM tried to eliminate the meaning does not show much practical wisdom, but political bias (wanting all autistics to enjoy the glory).

  3. Asperger's is a diagnosis that has passed away from the world. Today the term is - the autistic spectrum, on which there are many more diverse people than the colors and shades and sub-shades of the rainbow. It is better to give up definitions and try to see, understand and contain what is in front of our eyes

  4. Guys in Israel don't use the word Asperger!
    He was a Nazi. Use highly cognitive words. Those who are not in the shoes of autism with high cognitive function in life will not therefore understand all the reactions you are reacting to, reactions that indicate ignorance. As a mother of a child with a function like Musk's, I relate so much to what he went through and is going through. I also get responses of "but... she doesn't look like it" she doesn't need horns, I don't wish anyone to experience that.

  5. Guys in Israel don't use the word Asperger!
    He was a Nazi. Use highly cognitive words. Those who are not in the shoes of autism with high cognitive function in life will not therefore understand all the reactions you are reacting to, reactions that indicate ignorance. As a mother of a child with a function like Musk's, I relate so much to what he went through and is going through. I also get responses of "but... she doesn't look like it" she doesn't need horns, I don't wish anyone to experience that.

  6. Smoke weed, it helps to look at yourself from the side and understand your problems.

    I don't know what his problem is (and maybe Trump's too), but to me, from the first moment he made a bad impression. Even before the treatment of the company's employees.

  7. Everyone here falls into this trap that he is autistic, but mentally this person is closer to a sociopath than to an autist. Autistics have a lot of emotional attention to the environment compared to sociopaths who are emotionally blocked. There is no connection between intelligence and autism. Amsher to be autistic and autistic or autistic with severe retardation. Enough romanticizing the spectrum. Political correctness prevents autists from being treated like humans and instead they are treated like some strange chicken. To say that this type is autistic also adds to the crime and gives a bad name to all autistic people who are very sensitive to others. Start differentiating between a sociopath and an autist.

  8. The main thing of course and the most important without opening here
    Thank God that we are not autistic, that we are not senile and we have no Alzheimer's and dementia, and no disability, no autism, no shoes and no shoes of Asperger's Asparagus and no remorse Berta
    And that we are fine - done of course and really normal:,
    A healthy and complete life and also wise in addition to everything
    Endlessly, even then we have no problem, we are completely normal and not screwed up, we are neither stupid nor idiots, so what's the problem??!
    What's the Bilboley - God's mind, really.

  9. All the people who commented here that he has Asperger's... So, there is no such thing as Asperger's, Asperger himself admitted that he made up data to justify his research, in fact when they say Asperger's they mean very high functioning autism. There is no neurological difference between the two and five, the eye has never been examined objectively and therefore, does not exist

  10. He apparently suffers from Asperger's. But this cannot explain his arrogant and condescending behavior towards others. Since he bought Twitter the man has gone completely crazy

  11. Musk is diagnosed with Asperger's. It is not autism as the crowd perceives it, a short Google search will explain the difference. A blessed week

  12. As the mother of the boy on the streak, I sympathize very much with the difficulties.. my son is smart, communicates, works, studies, served in the army but never had a single friend. It is very painful that his life is divided exclusively between home, work and studies. Our society does not accept the autistic, lacks empathy, is haunted by fears, makes it difficult for them and makes them remain socially isolated. There are attempts at easy social integration in schools, but then there is no one to lift the glove.

  13. An actor. A media messenger and publicist of globalist ideas, neither a genius nor a shoe. I don't believe a word he says

  14. This article is affirmative action against Elon Musk because he supposedly suffers from some kind of disability
    It's like I will say that you need to understand terrorists because they come from a background of violence and hatred.

    Elon is not only on the spectrum, he has a spectrum of actions, some of them are amazing and worthy of appreciation, but some are cruel and deserve to be assigned by society

  15. It is very sad that because the guy is autistic there is not a single word about his cruelty, rapacity and insolence. Because he is autistic it is likely that he will destroy people's lives and require 80 hours of work a week? In short, what I'm trying to say is that you give him discounts and actually do an injustice to the community - you discriminate against autistic people.

  16. It's nice that he manages to sell this lie to the whole world that he is autistic. If he's autistic, then I'm Einstein. Just because you get on everyone's nerves, doesn't mean you're autistic.

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