Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Spock and Asperger's

There are many places in books and on the internet stating this connection. There is a book out there called "Loving Mr. Spock" about a woman's husband with the condition (as he behaves like a Vulcan), and there are numerous essays/articles out there stating that Spock must, indeed, have Asperger's.

While Spock may exhibit behavior that in a pure human would be linked with autism, Spock does not have Asperger's.

A quick overview of Asperger's: People with Asperger's often have problems with eye contact, have abnormal speech patterns, and may hold themselves in an unusual posture. They may not understand other people's emotions and display a lack of social or emotional reciprocation. They may become fixated on a certain object or subject, have inflexible routines, and stereotyped/repetitive movements such as rocking or hand flapping. Many are hypersensitive to stimuli such as sounds and textures.

People with Asperger's often struggle with social situations and conversation due to difficulties relating to others and understanding certain patterns of speech such as the use of metaphors and sarcasm.

Despite these difficulties, those with the condition are often highly intelligent and excel in a certain area.

It has been said that Albert Einstein had Asperger's. He was cool.
While I agree that Spock (as well as most Vulcans) exhibit many of these behaviors and thought-patterns, I feel that this is culturally imposed and would not have surfaced had they been raised elsewhere and under a different philosphy. Asperger's Syndrome is a purely human condition, and the neurological differences can only be distinguished from other beings of the same race without error as the brain chemistry and biological makeup among species differs so greatly - It would be like comparing apples and oranges, and labeling the orange with something that only pertains to apples. The assumption that something would apply to two beings based on a mere humanoid form is illogical.

While Vulcans do have a hypersensitivity not unlike that found in people with Asperger's, it does not seem to have the same distressing effect. The Vulcan brain is wired to process this information correctly and effectively.

Vulcans are taught from a very young age to be strictly logical, and so metaphors/sarcasm are not generally used in their society and culture. One would expect the other to say exactly what they mean to say. The only major exception would be some forms of ancient literature. To be disordered, as a Vulcan, would be to behave as a "typical" human would. The neurotypical Vulcan has no problem with social protocol and understanding when it comes to other Vulcans - the difference is only apparent among other races, such as humans.

So there you have it. While Spock is half human, we all know that Vulcan genes are dominant in almost every way when pairing. Spock does not have Asperger's, nor does any other Vulcan.

This is important stuff. Right?


  1. Spock does not have Asperger's, nor does any other Vulcan.

    Thank you very much :) This entire piece was excellent and when I am not in the middle of a move, I will come back to comment in depth (read- mostly agree with what you have already said perfectly). I get so tired when I see people try to assign human conditions, such as Asperger's to Spock without taking into consideration his Vulcan half and the entire Vulcan cultures. So, thank you very much :)

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  3. You state that Spock displays many of the features associated with Asperger's Disorder, however does not have such an issue as it is a human issue. However, what if the inspiration for the modern Vulcan culture was a higher developed form of Asperger's Disorder - Asperger's ORDER (a fictional name, used to redefine the state, not as a disorder, rather as a different form of order). I postulate that Vulcan culture is similar to Asperger's disorder, and the conditioning to suppress emotion is a form of stress management. By controlling their emotions and suppressing the expression and psychological pollution of emotion, an Asperger's patient can take advantage of their advanced cognitive potential to greater height. Maybe the Vulcans are what an Asperger's patient can advance to, as the hypothetical "next stage of evolution" we are sometimes believed to be (a sentiment that I sometimes disagree with, but I'd probably be more adequately adjusted to social protocol on Vulcan, where such protocol is dictated by logic, than on Earth). I have made my postulate, Spock does not have Asperger's Disorder, but the Vulcans may have been based upon it, and through their stress management and emotional suppression have managed to take optimal advantage of the cognitive advantages that people with Asperger's are often praised for (regardless of the irrelevance of such praise, it occurs relatively frequently).