About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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May 1, 2004

Are You Neurotypical?

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Neurotypical syndrome is a neurobiological disorder characterized by preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity. According to The Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical (INST), as many as 9625 out of every 10,000 individuals may be neurotypical. (Yes, that means you too)

Neurotypical individuals (NTs) often assume that their experience of the world is either the only one, or the only correct one. NTs find it difficult to be alone. NTs are often intolerant of seemingly minor differences in others. When in groups NTs are socially and behaviorally rigid, and frequently insist upon the performance of dysfunctional, destructive, and even impossible rituals as a way of maintaining group identity. NTs find it difficult to communicate directly, and have a much higher incidence of lying as compared to persons on the autistic spectrum.

Take this online test to find out if you have neurotypical syndrome.

Note about the humor behind the ISNT:

"This site is an expression of autistic outrage.

About a year ago I learned I was on the autistic spectrum. Inspired by this discovery, I read everything I could get my hands on about the autistic spectrum. Much of it makes sense-- for the first time in 41 years, I had a description, albiet an unexpected one, that fit me.

But a lot of what I've found out there, mostly written by "experts" and "professionals", has been arrogant, insulting, and just plain wrong. My bête noire of the moment is finding my emotions described as "flat". As someone with considerably greater expertise in my emotions than the "experts", I can state unequivocally that my emotions are not "flat". They are different, yes, but they are most certainly not "flat."

Perhaps tomorrow I'll be fired up over being described as "lacking empathy". Or I'll be outraged at an exceptionally clueless "training" method being inflicted upon autistic kids. Or maybe it will be some new paper written by some "expert" from the perspective that neurotypical perception is correct, and my brain is a genetic mistake.

My brain is a jewel. I am in awe of the mind that I have. I and my experience of life is not inferior, and may be superior, to the NT experience of life.

Hence, this "Institute". Persons on the autistic spectrum and NT supporters are invited to submit papers to the Institute, and to share your observations in "Current Research" (the guestbook)."

If you feel like laughing right now, go here.

Update 5/9: In NYTimes Week in Review: The Disability Movement Turns to Brains

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues


1. Denny on May 3, 2004 10:50 AM writes...

Goodness! I'm as self-aware as anyone, and I'm confident that "preoccupied with social concerns, delusions of superiority and obsessed with conformity" are pretty far off the mark when describing me. But I scored 0-10, all 10 answers "incorrect," indicating I have a definite problem with neurotypical syndrome. Fails my sniff test. Without jumping to conclusions, I think my initial hypothesis about the test is that it may be invalid, or, at least, bullshit.

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2. Dani on May 22, 2004 9:52 PM writes...

I found this page amusing! But the NT test didn't have enough options- I don't usually watch fishtanks for 3 hours at parties: I read their non-fiction books; admire the textures of their ceiling, furnishings, etc. and *then* watch the fishtank :D... I think it needs a few more options for each Q...


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