as if / Economy / Humor / Politics / Science

Hyper-Communicativity Syndrome (HCS)

File:Wilhelm Schreuer Kaffeekränzchen.jpg

I hope that the following satirical text will not offend some of my followers who will find themselves being diagnosed with a psychiatric syndrome. I am counting on your sense of humor. Unfortunately, nerdish humor might be different from yours, so should you feel insulted by the following, blame my nerdishnes and please accept my apology🙂

I am a nerd. Nerds belong to a minority personality type. We are somewhere in the middle between those who think they are normal and those who are being diagnosed with “Asperger’s Syndrome”.

There is currently a tendency to turn more and more minority personality types into “Syndromes”. Money can be made with this. Medications and therapies and books can be sold. Psychiatry handbook authors have been found to be on the payrolls or the pharmaceutical industry and as a result, more and more normal people are diagnosed with some kind of condition. Normal feelings are declared pathologic, personality types are morphed into personality disorders.

Nerdism, as far as I know, has not yet been declared a “disorder” but I am only waiting for that.

I want to point out that the people who write the psychiatry handbooks have made another important omission. What they failed to include is HCS, the Hyper-Communicativity Syndrome. I have discovered this condition by studying people around me. I leave it to my readers to decide whether they would call it a “disorder”.

These people are very strange indeed. I am used to being viewed as a strange guy by others, but it is important to understand that the distance from A to B equals the distance from B to A. From my point of view, I am surrounded by loads of people who are strange. Almost everyone. So let me try to describe them:

HCS-affected people have an extremely strong need to communicate. Being alone makes them feel unhappy even if nothing bad at all is happening to them. They feel happiest when communicating with others. Finding these other people is normally very easy for them since they are forming the majority of the population. Since there is normally not so much reason to communicate for any specific purpose (like transmitting relevant information to somebody, asking for something or coordinating actions), HCS-affected people show the strange behavior of engaging in communications that have the only purpose of communicating. The topic of the communication does not matter. HCS-affected people will talk with each other about anything just in order to talk (they use the term “chatting” for this strange behavior). One could argue that this is a kind of pathological behavior since communication is decoupled from any purpose other than communication itself, making the communication behavior somehow parasitic to its host. However, I prefer to call it a personality trait. It is certainly quirky but should not necessarily be seen as pathologic (at least in my opinion).

HCS-affected people are normally very bad at communicating with non-HCS-people. They will try to impose “chatting” on everybody, including people of other personality types who are, of course, not interested in the “chatting” behavior. Since HCS-affected people are the majority, they will tend to be surprised if their attempts to “chat” with non-HCS-affected people fail. They will normally not be able to adjust or adapt their communicative behavior to the goal-oriented communicative style of non-HCS-people. In their view, their unsuccessful attempts to “chat” with non-HCS-people will be seen by them as a result of strangeness or missing communicative abilities of the non-HCS-affected people, turning reality on its head.

As a result they perceive themselves as normal and paradoxically tend to perceive others as not normal exactly when they are employing their syndrome-specific (I want to avoid to say: abnormal) communicative behavior.

HCS-affected people have a tendency to develop overcomplicated models of others. They are extremely sensitive to small signals by which others signal their moods. One could view this as an instance of savant syndrome. The result of this is their tendency to communicate indirectly, probably out of fear to cause the other to be upset about something. This can take some rather bizarre forms. Example: Where a non-HCS-person might simply say “Please drive me to the station”, an HCS-sufferer might put on a coat and say: “It is very cold today” (expecting an offer to be driven to the station in order to be spared the cold). As a result, HCS-affected people develop a complicated style of communication almost unintelligible for others and integrating elements of non-verbal communication although they could easily reach their goals by a simple verbal sentence. This results in them forming a “hermetic” community into which non-affected people can hardly penetrate.

HCS-affected people can very easily become addicted to devices that allow them to communicate with others. These include computers, especially when equipped with “chat-clients” or programs that allow talking with others, with or without pictures. Telephones have a highly addictive effect on them, especially if they can also be used to send text messages. So-called “smartphones” are actually a means for the electronics industry to make profit on HCS-affected people since they combine several features addictive for HCS-affected people in one device. (The addictive nature of these devices and the resulting need for regulations and restrictions has, so far, not yet been appreciated by the majority of politicians due to the fact that many of them are HCS-affected themselves.) For non-HCS-affected people, “smartphones” tend to be less attractive. For HCS-affected people, on the other hand, the availability of mobile communication has led to a situation in which some of them spend most of their time talking or exchanging text messages.

An interesting phenomenon is the development of “chat-bots”, that is of software that is simulating the chatting behavior of people in text-based chatting environments (“chat rooms”). This kind of software is used by communication-deprived HCS-sufferers to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

The pharmaceutical industry, on the other hand, has so far failed to make much profit from this condition although it can be argued that some HCS-affected people, if they lose the opportunity to get into “chatting”-contact with others, will develop a depression-like condition and might become dependent on anti-depressants. Other industries, like gastronomy and the pet-industry (especially the dog-industry) are also profiting from exploiting the HCS condition.

There is, to my knowledge, no research yet into the causes of HCS. It is unknown which factors in brain structure, distribution and concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain and so on contribute to the development of HCS, but it seem to have a strongly genetic basis. This lack of research is astonishing because based on such research, it should be possible to develop drugs to dampen the condition. It should be noted here that HCS is one of the main causes of lack of attention in schools, causing a lot of missed learning opportunities as a result. The reduction of symptoms through the administration of drugs should therefore be in the interest of schools and parents alike and would certainly generate huge profits for the pharmaceutical industry, dwarfing those made from administering Ritalin against “ADS”. As a result, it could be expected that school success of children could be improved, making this a real win-win-situation.

It seems astonishing to me that the pharmaceutical and medical industry has so far not taken the chance to make huge profits by simply declaring the entire population (and not just small subgroups) as suffering from a psychiatric disorder when clearly that is the case (as, I hope, I was able here to demonstrate).

(The picture is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wilhelm_Schreuer_Kaffeekr%C3%A4nzchen.jpg.)

25 thoughts on “Hyper-Communicativity Syndrome (HCS)

    • Don’t worry – I am used to dealing with you people😉.

      When reading about how perfectly normal people belonging to minority personality types are stigmatized of being abnormal, I just had this idea: how would this “normal” type be described if they where just 5% of the population. People would describe it as a syndrome and make money with treatments. The question is, who defines what is normal?

      • I’ve always wondered at the definition of normal, I don’t think anyone is actually normal, you just get some people who are more abnormal than others

  1. After diagnoses and therapies etc etc my boy is just who he is, he did worry after reading the whimpy kid diaries that he might be a nerd I assured him that the nerds were the ones who actually got good jobs and made something of there lives…he still worries about it due to the neuro’s reminding him daily that he is different. He just says when they tease him I don’t care some of them are not very smart. Thanks for sharing your spin on things appreciate you linking your comment to your site. I just want my boy to be confident and happy.

    • I think he is completely all right. Being a nerd is not a bad thing. I am a nerd myself. I really think it is wrong to “pathologize” personality types but there is a lot of money in it.
      If the “HCS”-people where just 3 percent of the population, they would actually be considered as having a personality disorder🙂

  2. OMG! Nannus, you have brilliantly diagnosed the disease (ahum!), disorder that has plagued me for decades! I am comforted in the knowledge that I am not alone battling this affliction. Should it become a field of study I will gladly participate and share what I know, think,believe,suspect, surmise, suss and talk about it in the interest of science of course.
    I can’t thank you enough for this life changing post. I think you are now my BFF. Let me know if you want to chat.

  3. Reblogged this on The Asifoscope and commented:

    What is normal? Who defines what is normal? Normality is an as-if-construction. How would the “normal people” be viewed if they where just 5% of the population.

  4. I selected a picture entitled “Kaffeekränzchen” (Coffee party) for this article. My mother remarked that there is not a single cup of coffee there. Instead there are papers, so actually it might be a female study group (that had to disguise itself as a coffee party for chatting), So my perception of this picture, guided by the title, seems to have been biased.

  5. “Where a non-HCS-person might simply say “Please drive me to the station”, an HCS-sufferer might put on a coat and say: “It is very cold today” (expecting an offer to be driven to the station in order to be spared the cold). As a result, HCS-affected people develop a complicated style of communication almost unintelligible for others and integrating elements of non-verbal communication although they could easily reach their goals by a simple verbal sentence.”

    This is really funny because a woman just called me butt ass early and said, “Is this the right time to call?” and I said, “No, it’s early.” And she sounded pissed at me then continued talking about nothing, and I didn’t even know her really! Wouldn’t it be refreshing if she didn’t ask a question she didn’t mean?

    Another thing I’m still smiling about—you actually duped me at the beginning. I thought, “There’s a Hyper-Communicativity Syndrome?” And then I started wondering about certain people. Funny how we automatically take ‘syndromes’ so seriously, especially if there’s an acronym attached.

    • But there IS such a syndrome (and I happen to be its discoverer). It is just the majority syndrom😉

      Terms like “syndrom” are, of course, manipulative since they carry the tacit presupposition that someone is abnormal, that there is a pathological condition. For example, is it not better to talk about an “Asperger personality type” instead of speaking of a syndrome? You don’t have INTJ syndrome, but we have to be carful or we will suddenly find ourself inside such a box.

          • Haha, not sick, but, well, abnormal…I think it helps him to avoid getting his feelings hurt when I go into my office (he calls it my ‘hole’) for many hours. In any case, we can both laugh at me when I do crazy things. It’s a term of endearment, for sure.

            • Does he suffer from HCS? My wife is extrem in this respect, and also my daughter (both are ENFP, but I am used to it :-)).

              • In a way he does. He’s not an empty chit-chat type of person, (he’s a philo prof, after all) but he’s extroverted. He needs social interaction, whatever the quality. I’d just rather be alone than put on a fake smile (but I do it for him when we have dinner parties and such).

                Do you find it a relief when someone else does all the talking? I noticed a lot of couples like this. I don’t know if the quiet one is relieved or thinking secret thoughts.🙂 I suspect it’s a mixture of the two.

                • My wife and me, we leave each other a lot of freedom. She meets her friends and goes to meetings (she is from Cameroon and there are several cameroonian “meetings” where she is a member (and often a leading one)). She talks on the phone and its OK with me. She lets me have my ways. One should not expect to share all of life with a partner, each of us has his/her own area. She does not expect me to talk much and I do not put myself under pressure in this respect. If I did, that would only be in my had. It is not a problem and it never was.

                • It’s nice that you don’t feel the need to pressure yourself in this way. It sounds really relaxing and like your wife is really independent.

                  I agree that you can’t share all of life with a partner. My husband needs a lot more than I do, though, so I try to give what I can because I want him to be happy. Without him, I’m sure I wouldn’t be happy, so it’s just a matter of giving back what he gives me.

                  I do feel pressured to be social, mainly because I know it means so much to him to have friends, but also because of our age difference. I feel like I have to prove something. Things have settled a bit now, though, and I’ve relaxed and I think the neighborhood is starting to see my true colors!

                  I think my main problem is that I get caught up in doing something and I neglect him. And I mean, to the extreme. He once said, he felt like I was a roommate because I go into my hole all day. So he’s learned to give me little rules like “be with me at 8pm.” And then I know at that time I need to stop whatever I’m obsessed with and go sit with him on the couch or else I’ll hurt his feelings.

                  I know it sounds sort of weird, but having little rules like this is not a burden on me at all. I appreciate them, actually. At least I know what he wants and I’m happy to give it to him. Having him get mad and hurt just out of the blue would be a burden on me. It’s happened a few times and in the moment I can never understand why he’s so upset, and then I get upset and it’s all just terrible miscommunication.

                  People have so many different methods of working things out. It’s interesting.

                • Everybody is different, so there are no general rules. I have been married once before and got divorced. A marriage may or may not work, and it is a matter of work from both sides. It is good to talk about differences, emotional needs and expectations.

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