Personality: form vs. function

drinking birdFor a long time I’ve struggled with the Big 5 because it is supported by textual analysis of published works.  Well, published works are kind of an artifact of elitism and privilege.

I did for a while try to map the functions of personality onto the neurocognitive domains, but I realized last week that the functions of personality are functions, and they may not have a lot to do with the form, or outward manifestations.  (The functions are identity, self direction, empathy and intimacy).

So my weird leap for the day has to do with the hazy resemblances between Autism and Schizophrenia, where perhaps one is a disorder more of function, while the other is a disorder more of form.

The diagnostic criteria of Autism is dysfunction of social communication and restrictive/repetitive behavior (including interests).  But in looking at resilience and Autism, it seems to me like there is a difference in integration of cognitive domains.  Note I say difference, not deficit.  I might compare it to digital vs. analog recording media.

The analogy I came up with for schizophrenia back when I was studying that is perhaps it is like an orchestra where the conductor is perhaps not using both hands effectively.  (I had originally formulated it as no conductor, but I think that’s too stigmatizing).  Like the conductor keeps everyone in time, and also attends to particular sections to regulate their dynamics.

Maybe my point is that both Autism and Schizophrenia spectrums (spectra, sorry Magistra Welch!)  involve the conductor, but one is not attending to dynamics and the other is not attending to rhythm.

Image:  That’s the beauty of it, it doesn’t DO anything.

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