July 31st, 2013

red panda eating bamboo

New theory about social anxiety/spectrum behavior

(Well actually it's from 2006 so I don't know how new it is.)

"How your nervous system sabotages your ability to relate: An interview with Stephen Porges about his polyvagal theory" by Ravi Dykema

The bad: The title of this article sucks, and some of the language is annoying and patronizing, and there's some sexism and heterocentrism, and there's a "Dos and don'ts" graphic that completely misses the point.

The good: Stephen Porges has come up with a theory that explains what a lot of people who have anxiety issues and difficulty with in-person socializing (because of being non-neurotypical or having PTSD or other reasons) already know: it works better if we feel safe, and a lot of us tend feel safer in quiet environments and in environments where we are not constantly pressured to engage in eye contact.

A lot of his conclusions aren't going to be news to people who have these issues, but I figure it could be a good thing that someone is trying to sort out some neurochemical reasons for this stuff, especially because Porges seems to be saying that the same mechanisms operate in people who have "diagnosable disorder" levels of difficulty and people who are anxious in some social situations but it doesn't get to the level of a disorder.

Excerpts:Collapse )

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