Friday, February 12, 2010

Psychology is Weird

Alright, eruderrimi lectores, I confess a certain perplexity: the new diagnostic and statistical manual, the DSM, is being prepared for publication.

Most folks familiar with the instrument (not a diagnostic tool. despite the title, and not to be used or really even examined by lay persons, despite its wide availability in leading bookstores) also know that there have been some fairly important revisions of the manual's basic structure through the years.

One of the proposals that caught my attention was that of folding the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome into that of the general autism spectrum, meaning that there would no longer be a separate diagnosis for Asperger's.

Here's the thing: Asperger's is a disorder, the main symptom of which is extreme social awkwardness. Thing is, there's no cognitive dysfunction associated with AS. On the contrary, people diagnosed with AS are often considerably more intellectually gifted than other people their age.

So, this leads me to wonder: why is being a geek a mental disorder?

On the other hand, why is, say, the basic sexualizing of friendship not a mental disorder?

Serious question.



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