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TPE2
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Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:39 am

I see constant references to people with AS having difficulty in understanding social cues.

What this, "social cues", exactly means? [I am not English-speaker]



BTDT
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Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:41 am

Non verbal hints to guide the conversation--looking bored when you want to change the topic, for instance.



Wallourdes
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Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:44 am

Quote:
Social cues are signals that are given, usually consciously during a social interaction that communicates a person’s thoughts, or expected actions at certain intervals of a group’s activity.


I got this from http://www.pualingo.com/pua-definitions/social-cue/


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Vector
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Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:07 am

Every conversation has two parts: content and relationship. Autistic people understand the content part of the conversation-- the things that people are talking about, like politics or shoes. We tend to miss the part of the conversation that is about the relationship between the people. Stuff like facial expressions, vocal tone, gestures, or even words that say something other than their direct meaning. People are animals when it comes to their emotions-- they do all these things that are like dogs wagging their tails or sniffing each other. Those animal things, which autistic people tend not to see or to interpret oddly, are called "social cues."


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Zedition
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Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:11 am

The way I think of them, social cues are things people do to politely tell you things they don't want to say. I've learned loads of them over the years from watching people.

For example:
Don't make eye contact constantly. Do it in a repeating pattern. I do a three count, look away for one, four count, away for two, then repeat.
Also don't actually look at eyes. At least, I can't, it makes my skin crawl. I kind of look below one eye, but focus my eyes on a point that would be at the back of the person's head. My wife says it does look like I am making eye contact and she can't tell that her face is not in focus.
When speaking to somebody, hold eye contact for a count of three, then look away - that means you are ready to talk.
If somebody looks at their own body while talking to you (fingers, clothes, feet), they are bored and want to leave.
Opening your eyes wide means you are interested. Leaving them regular means bored.
Look up in the air if you want to keep talking but need a second to remember what the heck your point was. People think this means you are collecting your thoughts and won't start talking.
Hold eye contact for a count of only two when looking at a stranger. More than that and they think you are interested in them. Even if they look goofy.
Watch for flutters or ticks, that means you hit some kind of chord with what you just said. Since I don't actually look at eyes, I miss these a lot.

Voice tone and speed of speech is also a big non-verbal. I slow my rate of speech way, way down when speaking with NT's, about half what I do when speaking with peers. To learn how to use your tone to influence people's reactions, buy a dog or date somebody with kids. I learned oodles about tone after I had children.

Also body posture. I learned this from working with my son's friends. I'm a big guy, so I slouch now when I'm talking with subordinates, trying to literally "bring myself down to their level". Talking to superiors, I stand my full 6'3" and even puff my chest and shoulders just a pinch. Superiors respond well to an image of health and strength.

Where to hold my hands still confounds me. Most people seem to talk with thier hands, but I haven't figured out much about it. It seems to be very different between men and women on how your hands are used. I can 'lecture' well with my hands, when I'm giving a presentation like in a classroom setting. But one-on-one, I can't figure out what to do, if I use my hands to talk, I seem to intimidate women. If I don't use my hands, men start flagging dis-interest in what I have to say, or they get testy.

Body position is the other one. Face to face, Americans' want to stand half of their own body height apart, just barely in an arm's reach. Most Europeans are a about a hands width closer than this, Japanese like to be just out of reach, working with Chinese and Indian consultants really gives me the willies, these cultures practially touch body to body while talking.



wavefreak58
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Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:53 am

Zedition wrote:
Don't make eye contact constantly. Do it in a repeating pattern. I do a three count, look away for one, four count, away for two, then repeat.


Good lord. If I tried to count off seconds of eye contact I wouldn't be able to listen to what they are saying. I can either hear you or look at your eyes.

Quote:
Also don't actually look at eyes. At least, I can't, it makes my skin crawl. I kind of look below one eye, but focus my eyes on a point that would be at the back of the person's head. My wife says it does look like I am making eye contact and she can't tell that her face is not in focus.


Not sure I can do this effectively either. If I was too comfortable with it I would appear to be staring at them unless I engaged in the counting exercise above. And then I would lose track of the conversation.

Quote:
When speaking to somebody, hold eye contact for a count of three, then look away - that means you are ready to talk.
If somebody looks at their own body while talking to you (fingers, clothes, feet), they are bored and want to leave.
Opening your eyes wide means you are interested. Leaving them regular means bored.
Look up in the air if you want to keep talking but need a second to remember what the heck your point was. People think this means you are collecting your thoughts and won't start talking.
Hold eye contact for a count of only two when looking at a stranger. More than that and they think you are interested in them. Even if they look goofy.
Watch for flutters or ticks, that means you hit some kind of chord with what you just said. Since I don't actually look at eyes, I miss these a lot.

Voice tone and speed of speech is also a big non-verbal. I slow my rate of speech way, way down when speaking with NT's, about half what I do when speaking with peers. To learn how to use your tone to influence people's reactions, buy a dog or date somebody with kids. I learned oodles about tone after I had children.

Also body posture. I learned this from working with my son's friends. I'm a big guy, so I slouch now when I'm talking with subordinates, trying to literally "bring myself down to their level". Talking to superiors, I stand my full 6'3" and even puff my chest and shoulders just a pinch. Superiors respond well to an image of health and strength.

Where to hold my hands still confounds me. Most people seem to talk with thier hands, but I haven't figured out much about it. It seems to be very different between men and women on how your hands are used. I can 'lecture' well with my hands, when I'm giving a presentation like in a classroom setting. But one-on-one, I can't figure out what to do, if I use my hands to talk, I seem to intimidate women. If I don't use my hands, men start flagging dis-interest in what I have to say, or they get testy.

Body position is the other one. Face to face, Americans' want to stand half of their own body height apart, just barely in an arm's reach. Most Europeans are a about a hands width closer than this, Japanese like to be just out of reach, working with Chinese and Indian consultants really gives me the willies, these cultures practially touch body to body while talking.


Too many rules. I'd rather have one or two friends that understand me as weird but OK, than try to deal with all that stuff. Clearly, this is not an option in any environment requiring interaction. No wonder I feel exhausted after such things.



Philologos
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Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:36 pm

Social cues are what foreigners AND Aspies reading NTs AND NTs reading Aspies either do not see or misinterpret.

They are the bane of my existence [after Daylight saving]



TPE2
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Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:48 pm

Thanks for the explanations!



fethi
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Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:48 pm

Vector wrote:
Every conversation has two parts: content and relationship. Autistic people understand the content part of the conversation-- the things that people are talking about, like politics or shoes. We tend to miss the part of the conversation that is about the relationship between the people. Stuff like facial expressions, vocal tone, gestures, or even words that say something other than their direct meaning. People are animals when it comes to their emotions-- they do all these things that are like dogs wagging their tails or sniffing each other. Those animal things, which autistic people tend not to see or to interpret oddly, are called "social cues."


Hey Vector

thanks a lot for this wonderful explanation
I specifically enjoyed the "animals" part ... :lol:

I don't know whether you also are suffering from this syndrome but in any case this is exactly what a self aware Aspie thinks of people ... simply that they are as animals as animals!! ! not so different in reality ...



Ellytoad
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Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:47 pm

A few times in the past, when I couldn't understand a certain hand movement, I would copy it. Kind of amusing now that I look back on it.



laustcawz
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Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:18 pm

I've heard a lot about this, too, that autists/Aspergians "miss social cues". Whose social cues are these? Are they easy, obvious things to follow & recognize, or are they arbitrary social formalities that non-autists came up with?? I'd also suggest that the so-called "lack of empathy" may be subjective as well.



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