From “Oh, OK” to “Ah, yes” to “Aha!”: Hyper-systemizing and the rewards of insight

Fields, Chris (2010) From “Oh, OK” to “Ah, yes” to “Aha!”: Hyper-systemizing and the rewards of insight. [Preprint]


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Hyper-systemizers are individuals displaying an unusually strong bias toward systemizing, i.e. toward explaining events and solving problems by appeal to mechanisms that do not involve intentions or agency. Hyper-systemizing in combination with deficit mentalizing ability typically presents clinically as an autistic spectrum disorder; however, the development of hyper-systemizing in combination with normal-range mentalizing ability is not well characterized. A review of anecdotal reports, survey-based measurements, and experimental studies of systemizing suggests the hypothesis that hyper-systemizing in the presence of normal-range mentalizing develops as an addiction syndrome driven by the positive affect associated with insight solutions. A neurocognitive model of hypersystemizing as an outcome of insight addiction is constructed based on the incentive-sensitization model of addiction. If this model is correct, assaying subjects for bias on the systemizing – mentalizing spectrum would be expected to reveal significant activity differentials in temporal-parietal-frontal networks on cognitive tasks with systemizing or mentalizing components within the neurotypical population. Predictions of the model accessible to survey-based instruments and standard cognitive measures are outlined, and evidence pertaining to them considered.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:Systemizing, Mentalizing, Development, Addiction, Insight, Default network, Analogy
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Neuroscience > Neuropsychology
ID Code:6907
Deposited By: Fields, Chris
Deposited On:06 Aug 2010 11:22
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57

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