I Collect Therefore I am - Autonoetic Consciousness and Hoarding in Asperger Syndrome
Paul Skirrow, Paul Jackson, Ewan Perry, Dougal Julian Hare
Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
25 FEB 2014
A growing number of studies have highlighted impairments in the ability of individuals with autism spectrum disorders to recall specific, personally experienced material. These difficulties have been related to underlying problems with autonoetic consciousness, namely the subjective awareness of one's own existence in subjective time. The current paper describes the manifestation of these difficulties in three individuals diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. For the people described, lifelong collecting and hoarding behaviours appeared to serve the function of constituting and maintaining aspects of their sense of self, particularly the sense of continuity and agency over time. On the basis of this clinical information and previous research into self-related processes in people with autism spectrum disorders, an initial model of collecting and hoarding behaviours amongst individuals with Asperger syndrome was formulated. The implications of this formulation for both clinical practice and future research are discussed.
Key Practitioner Message