Yes, you read that right. That is what research from psychologists says. This one:
Right temporoparietal junction underlies avoidance of moral transgression in Autism Spectrum Disorder
They say that that autistic people are less likely to act immorally, even when consequences or chance of being found out are low, is apparently a ‘deficit’.
Yes really. Autistic people like me are deficient because are morals tend to be better, not worse, that that of the control. Have I woken up in an alternative universe where to be bad is good?
But that is not the worst thing about this research. The worst bit comes in the opening paragraph.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by a core deficit in theory-of-mind (ToM) ability, which extends to perturbations in moral judgment and decision-making.
Here’s a scientific definition:
Theory of mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states to ourselves and others, serving as one of the foundational elements for social interaction. Having a theory of mind is important as it provides the ability to predict and interpret the behaviour of others.
The assumption that autistic people are ToM deficient is a strange one, and goes against previous research.
(Baron-Cohen 1984) Theory of mind develops later in autistic children (so we do have it, it just develops slower).
(Senju 2009) adults with Asperger syndrome seem to compute theory of mind differently than healthy* people do. (So we do have it.) Flawed research. (*Healthy is their term, autism does not make me unhealthy.) Our brains are wired differently, that does not make us deficient.
A few individuals, but a long way from all, or even most, with autism , Asperger’s, schizophrenia, depression, or social anxiety disorder exhibit a deficit in theory of mind and perform poorly on related tasks. You cannot take deficient ToM as a given in autism research.
My mood, furious.
Here is the research: https://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2020/11/02/JNEUROSCI.1237-20.2020