Women, Autism, and Social Mimicry Survey

Greetings WWA Readers!

Despite recent events, I am carrying on with an effort to research the issue of women, autism, and social mimicry. As I have mentioned before, Dr. Tony Attwood suggests that women and girls on the spectrum have a tendency to attempt to fit in social by observing the accepted behaviors of their group or culture, and then imitating them. I am curious about this phenomenon of social mimicry amongst women on the spectrum and would like to find out how common this is.

I invite women on the autism spectrum (both officially diagnosed and self-diagnosed) to take my Polldaddy survey. It is a short, ten question survey intended, and both cis- and trans- women are invited to participate. Please click the link below to go to the survey (which will pop up in front of your browser window). If the button below does not work, you may link to the survey directly at: http://womanwithaspergers.polldaddy.com/s/new-survey.

Please pass this on to other autistic women! My goal is to find at least 100 to take the survey.

UPDATE: I’m keeping the survey open until midnight on December 10, 2011 to give more people a chance to take it. There’s been a rather large response to the survey — thanks to Autism Women’s Network, Autism Blogs Directory, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and Canddi on Facebook for helping to spread the word.

-Nicole

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8 thoughts on “Women, Autism, and Social Mimicry Survey

  1. Interesting question… one thing I did as a child was I watched a LOT of TV. Or, basically, I was obsessed with it (my dad used to call the TV Guide my bible). That was basically how I learned about social interaction, rather than experiencing it, since I was “shy” and could only interact with a few people I had grown to know and trust without having a panic attack. My socializing skills improved over time, and once I got into high school, I even had a few acquaintances in addition to my one main friend.

  2. Thanks for letting me know about your new URL. I took the survey – very interesting questions!

    You might want to contact Kim at the Autism Blogs Directory about getting the word out re: the survey – she would probably be willing to post a notice about the survey on the main blog there.

  3. Done. Very interesting survey — I hope you’ll share the results with us! Similar to BLS, I didn’t mimic actual people I knew, but obsessed over social interactions I read in books and used the information to form theories about good social interactions to avoid blanking when I found myself in one.

  4. I second (third?) the comment about TV and book characters. I often mimicked characters I saw on TV. Often these weren’t the popular ones, but the “weird” ones who were funny and had a role to play – I saw that role as more accessible. I was pretty obsessed with these characters, knew what they’d do in almost every situation. I am not sure I quite understood that some of the characters’ behavior on TV was not the best way to behave.

    I’m pretty sure that non-Autistic people, especially children, engage in social mimicry to a pretty significant extent too, but perhaps people on the spectrum are more aware of it.

  5. Hello all:

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting:

    BLS, Kim, and Twitchy Woman: You all mention something very interesting about imitating TV and book characters. I’m glad all of you mention this and I wonder if it’s a widespread phenomenon amongst spectrum women. The conversations I’ve had with other women suggest that it might be.

    I myself did the same thing, for both book and TV characters. When I was 10, Punky Brewster was a popular TV show, and yes, I imitated Punky — which is kind of interesting, since the actress who played her, Soleil Moon Frye, is almost a week older than me, to the day and year. I also tended to pick the less standard and more interesting characters, namely because each of them displayed something I admired.

    I’ve also been guilty of doing the same thing with celebrities (don’t faint, I don’t mean Lady Gaga or Beyonce). In my case through my undergraduate years, it was Michael Stipe of R.E.M. Same reason — he displayed several qualities I admired. And again, in my conversations with other autistic women, I found out I wasn’t the only one.

    Which is why I’m glad that I included that nice “Other” option.

    Aspergirl Maybe: Thank you for the suggestion. When I saw your comment a couple of days ago, I contacted her and they posted the announcement up on the site.

    I’ll be sharing the results in a few weeks. I’ve also got my research cut out for me.

    And thank you all for stopping by and taking the survey.

    -Nicole

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