As Tyler Cowen has pointed out, atttributes of autistic minds have some economic advantages. Some companies are systematically utilizing these advantages to improve quality and enhance profits. A Jason Lisk essay about Adderall in the National Football League makes the point that Adderall causes mental hyperfocusing. The tendency hyperfocus is one of the advantages that autistics bring to many mental tasks. So you can buy a bottle of autism?
Of course, it’s not all positives. It can be abused. It can be addictive. You have to get a cardiac workup, and players that are sharing it without prescriptions could lead us to a Len Bias situation for Adderall. For me, I had a hard time sleeping at night. I was still on. That’s why you hear stories like Garrett Hartley, who claimed to have taken it to stay awake for a long drive. I would get so focused on things that I could not let go. I could always “hyper-focus” on things I enjoyed, but it intensified even more on Adderall. Staying up to play Civilization to wind down turned into six hours at the computer, and no sleep before returning to work.
Hyperfocusing is not the only attribute of the autistic mind. How many of the autistic attributes can be enhanced by drugs? The opposite effect is possible: Oxytocin enhances the ability of autistics to recognize emotions in the faces of others.
There's no mental state that is ideal for all situations. What we need: mental switches that will make it fast and easy to switch our minds into different modes. Shift into a socialization mode. Then switch on hyperfocusing to work on an intellectually demanding task without getting distracted. Get creative when you need to be. Then shift into a mode where you can analyze numbers and write up reports when that's what's needed.
We need cognitive state management technologies. Some already exist and not all of them are drugs. For example, bright lights will lessen the kind of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). You can also use white noise and noise suppressing materials and other changes in your environment to decrease mental distractions.
Which cognitive state management techniques do you use? Got any useful tips?
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2012 December 22 01:08 PM|