Edenic Phrenology vindicated – Science discovers facial pattern for Autism & Asperger’s
|January 24, 2013||Posted by Koanic under face reading|
Many a critic has scoffed that my face reading theories are risible phrenology. They will therefore be rendered speechless with laughter upon reading this 2011 paper on “facial anthropometry” in Molecular Autism. The title:
“Facial phenotypes in subgroups of prepubertal boys with autism spectrum disorders are correlated with clinical phenotypes”
Those more concerned with the fashionableness of an idea than its substance will have difficulty with the large words above, so allow me to translate:
I was right.
** Face reflects brain development
As it turns out, Edenic Phrenology (EP) and neuroscience are in total agreement about first principles. In fact, far from seeing patterns where none exist, EP is actually quite blunt and clumsy, missing many details that would be revealed with formal, computer-assisted investigation.
So far, we have only picked some of the low-hanging fruit. And even after pinprick DNA sequencing can predict your whole psychological profile, face reading will still be necessary, because it reveals the specific phenotype, for which genes are merely the rough blueprint. Thus my science will endure as long as human beings exist.
Here is how the study’s authors defend EP, or “facial anthropometry”, as they call it:
“The face and brain form a vast but segmented population of cells whose differentiation and identity are established through intricate signaling mechanisms. It has been stated that the brain is the foundation on which the various parts of the developing face grow . The phrase, “The face predicts the brain” , has been employed frequently to explain developmental disorders such as holoprosencephaly. Thus changes to the developing brain may be reflected in the face [15-17]. The face develops from populations of neural crest cells migrating from the neural tube into developing embryonic facial prominences. These neural crest cells interact with the developing brain via both physical contact and genetic signaling.”
“The connection of brain and facial phenotypes to their underlying genetic bases involves hierarchies of complex regulatory cascades, nested epigenetic networks and everchanging patterns of cross-talk between molecules, cells and tissues throughout development [6,7,12,23].”
“Given the clear evidence that the embryological face and anterior brain emerge and develop in exquisite intimacy [16,17], facial phenotypes can serve as accessible and informative indices of brain phenotypes in neurodevelopmental disorders.”
“Thus face and brain in the embryo develop in concert, both temporally and genetically, and altered phenotypes of the face should reflect altered phenotypes of the brain via their shared developmental program.”
*** Edenic Phrenology is plausible within this scheme
Note that Edenic Phrenology is unconcerned with the minor bumps and intricate sectioning that characterizes traditional phrenology. Instead we look at macro facial and skull features that are plausibly genetic and revealing of the underlying brain, since they proceed from a common cellular root.
** Study characteristics
The study compared white boys aged 8-12. There was an autistic group and a normal control group.
“All participants were screened before inclusion and met the following criteria: individuals were male; of Caucasian ethnicity; had not worn dental braces; were prepubertal (by parent report); were able to sit relatively still for picture-taking; had been diagnosed with Autistic Disorder, Asperger syndrome, or pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) according to the DSM-IV criteria prior to the day of the study; and had no additional syndrome diagnoses.”
“Three-dimensional images were acquired using the 3dMDcranial System (3dMD, Atlanta, GA, USA). Briefly, the 3dMDcranial System works by projecting random light patterns on the subject of interest (in our case, the human face). The subject is captured with multiple, precisely synchronized digital cameras configured in four modular units for a 360° full-head capture.”
*** Eye socket depth wasn’t measured
This is the biggest disappointment of the study. They used 3d scanners, so they could’ve easily measured socket depth. But they didn’t. I suspect this is because they were building off of previous work that used only frontal portraits. They were thus seeking to confirm or deny theories on frontal facial patterns.
Although they imaged whole heads, we only have measurements for the facial points that they mapped. A future study should measure horizontal distance from the foremost projection of the cornea to the brow directly above, in order to capture socket depth.
** Study results
The study confirmed that a facial pattern for autism exists.
“Linear distances that were significantly reduced in the ASD group included those connecting glabella and nasion to the inner canthi and those connecting nasion with landmarks located on the nose and philtrum. Linear distances that were significantly increased in the ASD group connected the landmarks on the mouth with the inferior nasal region. Additionally, significantly increased linear distances connected the inner and outer canthi and the lateral upper face with the eyes and contralateral side of the mouth.”
“We found that essential autism in boys is associated with a distinctive facial phenotype characterized by an increased breadth of the mouth, orbits and upper face, combined with a flattened nasal bridge and reduced height of the philtrum and maxillary region.”
“boys with ASD have an altered developmental pattern of the structures derived from the embryonic FNP and the MAND.”
“Gene expression studies have shown that facial and neural tube development are intimately interrelated. Altered gene expression patterns are associated with alterations in face and brain development. The reverse is also true: Altered face and brain development is associated with alterations in gene expression. We know that the brain is altered in people with ASD (reviewed in ), and the results of our present study show that the face is also affected.”
*** Partial confirmation of Edenics
The above results partially confirm one feature of Edenic Phrenology – the idea that big eyes have psychological significance. Autistic kids had larger than average eyes, measured from corner to corner. I have observed that large eyes are correlated with emotional sensitivity. The normal friction of social intercourse “gets through” to the emotional core more easily.
*** Autism != Asperger’s
In addition to the general finding, the study found two statistically significant subgroups, demonstrating multiple causes for autism spectrum disorders. The first group was lower IQ, less verbal, and autistic. The second group was relatively smarter and more verbal, but had Asperger’s.
From the paper:
“Subgroup 1 displays decreased height of the facial midline and increased breadth of the mouth as well as the length and height of the chin. These regions of the face develop primarily from the FNP and midline portions of the MAND prominences of the embryonic face. Subgroup 2 displays increased breadth of the upper face in combination with decreased height of the philtrum.”
The autism face (subgroup 1) just looks sad, whereas the Asperger’s face looks higher testosterone (subgroup 2). Thus autism and Asperger’s aren’t the same thing, although they are related.
This confirms what I’ve observed. Autism seems to be a fundamental miswiring, a profound retardation that can have numerical or photographic savant effects. The mind withdraws into itself, and may have no channel outward. Asperger’s is more related to social intuition, empathy, emotional dissociation, and testosterone.
Asperger’s also seems to be multi-cause. Sufficient socket depth alone can create Asperger’s-like social challenges. This is usually correlated with Neanderthal DNA expression. But we have a forum member with Asperger’s who is a melon with shallow sockets. He displays the stereotypical Asperger’s face above. His social facility is impaired, but he does not display the stereotypical hyper-focus and conceptual obsessiveness of deep-socket Thals.
Autism and Asperger’s in children have similar treatment programs, as best I can tell. A nurturing and stimulating Thal small-group environment, with paleo-correct inputs, is the correct strategy. As far as self-improvement, it appears that Asperger’s is much more amenable to compensation than autism. But so far I still know very little about autism.
Given that deep sockets can mimic Asperger’s, but those handicaps are reversible with concentrated effort, perhaps we should say deep sockets have pseudo-Asperger’s instead, and reserve Asperger’s proper for those with the stereotypical face demonstrating developmental issues. There is a difference between a small-group hominid having difficulty with large-group socializing, and a malfuction in brain/face development.
I am not entirely sure that a socket depth study would show severe childhood dysfunction. Only the deepest Thals can’t even hack family life. At most, the children should be very introverted. Real social problems shouldn’t start until puberty.
As ever, I am carrying the speculation as far as I can, so expect revision as more data comes in.