Formal language and lying in autism

With these words, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” President Bill Clinton condemned himself. It was clearly a lie. The tell of the lie is repeated, what do “did not,” “sexual relations,” and “that woman” have in common? They are all formal word pairings where “didn’t,” “sex” and “her” would be more common.

It’s all relative, before you can say, “This is formal,therefore he’s lying,” you have to know how any particular person usually speaks and ask the question how does that person usually speak.If they normally speak formally then there is little to go on, for the former US president then… well you decide if three formal word pairs in a total of nine words, only I, have and with are the other words, is unusual for him.

Bill Clinton
Free image from Pixabay

When it comes to autistic people there can be a problem. Many speak in a more formal way than is common which can sound odd, and some may put that down to dishonesty. I find that odd, a recent study showed that autistic people are less likely to be involved in criminal activity even when they thought they could get away with it. I wrote about that last November.

So there you have the dilemma, I am thinking straight to the page here, we autistic people ate both more likely to lie, and more likely to use formal language when speaking. My problem is the opposite one, using informal language when it is inappropriate, at least that is what a psychologist said about me.

But then I have a distrust of psychologists. There is a tendency for them to report autism in a negative way. Even the report that said autistic people tend to be more honest reported it in a negative way. In the same way the reports I have found on formal language in autistic people treated it as if it was a bad thing, even in children whose language skills were advanced for their age. Yet my psychologist thought my lack of formality was also bad. I can use formal language, but usually in an ironic way.

Dyslexia and hyperlexia are both bad things according to these experts.
Using too much formal language or too little is a bad thing.
You cannot win when the belief that any deviation from the norm is bad is the accepted paradigm. Why can’t I just be me?

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