Saturday, May 17, 2008

Do left-brainers make better negotiators? Part II

After day 2 of the IMFAR conference, I’m re-evaluating my earlier answer to this question.

Recent events have reminded me of how the detail-focused contingent of the autistic spectrum often favors rigid, repetitive behaviors or interests, recoiling at unpredictability and change.

And I’ve been contemplating—philosophically, of course!—how such a stance might handicap my negotiating skills:

1. It would prompt me to resist—often out of hand—any deference to others, and to insist—at least implicitly—on making all the decisions myself. After all, others and their decisions are much less predictable to me than I and mine are to myself.

2. It would make it unusually upsetting for me to contemplate that I might not know the answer, or that my judgments and impressions might be inaccurate. I might resent anything anyone might say that occasions such contemplation.

3. It would make it downright excruciating for me to change my mind: for change is especially painful if it involves that which I hold nearest and dearest.

Sometimes, rationality can still prevail, but not always.

It’s an old saw that those who go into abnormal psychology are those who need it the most. The same might be said of autism research. Many of us, even if we aren’t fully on the spectrum, have children who are. What with the strong genetic component of autism, these two factors make us disproportionately likely to have shadow traits…

Sadly, resistance to unpredictability and change is one of them.

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