Wierd brain functioning.

After reading the pit thread about the Geography quiz, It reminded me about a problem I used to have when I was a kid. I was horrible at geography, even though I got easy’ A’s in every other subject after lots of talks and help from my parents parents I still didn’t get it. Then one day we had an assignment where we were supposed to draw a map based off of an aerial photograph, and it suddenly hit me, they were all using maps based on as it looks from above. Up until that point I was assuming that maps were drawn from underneith, because it made sence to me that way.

I’m not sure how to explain why it seemed more reasonable, I guess it just kind of standardized things, that all maps would be taken from the perspective of one point, the center of the earth, rather than from a bunch of random points floating above the earth.

The offshoot is that I was thinking east should be to the left, and west should be to the right. But I knew that California, for example, was to the west, but was on the right, which was why I was one confused little kid.

To this day whenever I’m looking at a map I have to remind myself to think from above, because from below is still my natural first thought. Occasionally when I start drawing a quick map for a friend I instinctive use the East is left format.

Nobody I have ever talked to ever thought that way, and many of them don’t even understand what I am saying. Anybody else have a brain that has a unique perspective on something.


stomps off to the pet peeves thread

Wolfman, I never thought about it that way…but I like that idea. It’s really too bad that we can’t standarize maps that way; it really does make more sense to show everything from one point as opposed to from several points. That’s really quite interesting.

Well at least I found someone who understands where I’m coming from :slight_smile:

And as for ‘weird’, that is not usually a word I have a problem with, but on preview I was so fixated on ‘underneith’ because I tried like 6 different ways, and none of them looked right, so I gave up of proofreading out of frustration.

I could only do science if I drew it out. Math, Physics, Ecology, if there was a graphical reprisentation of the problem, I could figure it out. I would do well in math with the problems with the long descriptions (i.e. Tim was six feet tall, and his shadow was 10 feet long at 4 pm. The Tree’s shadow was 18 feet long at the same time. How Tall was the tree?) But, it it was an equation, I would have to mentally change it into a word problem to figure it out.

I did okay like that until chemistry and calculus were introduced, I decided that I wanted to work in the arts.

I think I’m kind of like New & Improved Scott in some ways. Learning how to do certain types of math problems can be difficult for me if I can’t picture the numbers moving around somehow. For example, I know 2+2=4 because I can picture two marbles set down next to two others with the result being four. Same with moving numbers and letters around in algebra or chopping things up and adding them back together in geometry. But problems where the answer is “X=2 and X=-4” . . . give me a break. I don’t believe in it. I can scratch that kind of insanity on a piece of paper to make my algebra teacher happy, but deep down inside I equate that kind of thing to “Larry Flynt wrote the Bible, Chicago is the capital of Mali, and the Internet runs on a green cheese.” Perhaps some future advanced science course (physics, maybe?) will introduce me to something where I can see and thus believe in such mathematical baloney.

Also, sort of related to the OP: I also sometimes fail to see what is so brilliant, moving, or otherwise wonderful about a lot of the “great” novels, short stories, and poems my teachers keep forcing down my throat. Maybe I have an aesthetics deficiency, but many of these great works (especially the ones written by dead Russians) fail to move me to anything but boredom.

I’ll never be able to get my PhD in English because I cannot learn another language. French, Spanish, German, I’ve tried them all. I just can’t get it.

My brain is weird in its pattern-recognition facility. Everything has a pattern in my brain. Oh, and those things you look at that look like an old woman one way and a young girl the other way? I can see both the old woman and the young girl at the same time.

I used to get stuff wrong in school all the time too, because if there was a way to misunderstand what a question was asking, I would always misunderstand it. Turns out (based on those ultra-scientific “carrot” tests that circulate the internet) that I think differently than 95% of the population. No surprise there.

Are you familiar with synesthesia? This is an oversimplified explanation: the blending of two or more senses.

Some people taste words, for example. One of the most common forms of synesthesia is seeing the letters of the alphabet in color or even thinking of people in terms of color. I had a friend in high school who was pink and gray. Another was sapphire blue and gold. (I had no idea that my perceptions were at all unusual. Often synesthesia fades after our youth, but not always.

Hey, you should be an astronomer - that’s how east and west are defined for looking at the sky. :slight_smile: Go figure - it took me ages to figure that one out.

I think that they justify that one by talking about projections onto the plane of the sky and wierd stuff like taht. Anyone care to clarify?


sort of on-topic, sort of off…Zoe’s comment reminded me.

i have been both blessed and cursed with perfect pitch. therefore ANYTHING i hear has a certain ring to it. it used to drive me insane when the music teacher would play something in a different key than the music i was looking at. she couldn’t understand why i couldn’t just sing it in the new key. argh!

The ceiling of Grand Central Station has a beautiful mural of the night sky and the zodiac. Apparently no one noticed until it was too late that the whole thing was backwards. The justification offered for the ceiling’s orientation is that it shows the night sky as it would appear if one was outside looking down at the earth (although this doesn’t work unless you imagine the sky as a dome over the earth with all the stars the same distance away). So it’s sort of the reverse of Wolfman’s map-viewing problem.

I have never in my life been able to tell my left from my right independently. Right now the problem is more or less solved by wearing a ring on my right finger at all times (ring=right), so if I have to give directions I’m always looking at my hands. Don’t know what I’ll do if I get married :). I thought I would learn when I started driving, but all I learned was to tell left from right in the driver’s seat of a car. Really. If I’m on the passenger side, or in the back seat, I have to look at my hands.
Actually, I think it might be the same kind of thing as the OP. North-south-east-west were always pretty simple for me to comprehend because they’re absolute wherever you’re facing. But directions that change like right and left… just too hard, I guess :frowning:

Hey, I have the exact same problem with left and right. I have to do the whole “left hand makes an L, right hand doesn’t thing.” And shoes that have pronounced arch curves confuse the hell out of me. I have trouble too with the patterns portions of IQ tests, so I’m convinced that my IQ results are skewed. I should be in MENSA, not stuck here at 140. Bwah! I’m such a elitist.

My brain does that visual thing, too. My notes are always full of drawings and doodles. Sometimes in color. Helps me remember them a lot better.

The word Boston tastes like oatmeal, or sometimes Wheatena. Never Cream of Wheat, even in the winter. Go figure.

I tend to think in reverse Polish notation: so instead of ‘2 + 3’, I tend to think ‘2 3 +’. Not so much with math problems, but with most other kinds of thinking, I tend to follow this pattern. If I’m not thinking that way, I tend to think by jumping ahead to the ‘end’, then working back to the ‘start’, whatever that may be. Tends to drive people batty when I find myself having to explain things that I know to them.

I also prefer to count in groups of threes, not twos. So, instead of going ‘2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12’, I do ‘3, 6, 9, 12’.

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For some reason, I apply genders to numbers. Odd digits are male, even are female. I have no idea why I do this, but it’s an association that’s always sat in the back of my mind. I do the same with letters too, sometimes, but I think those tend to vary.

When I’m working on learning a foreign language (German right now), I can’t do the usual “German word means this English word” and vice versa. If the word for “the book” is “das Buch”, I remember it by having a mental image of a book and my brain says, “das Buch!”. And oddly enough, for the longest time I couldn’t remember that “heute” means “today”, but I could remember it was “aujourd’hui”, and I couldn’t remember that “aber” means “but”, but i knew it meant, “mais”. Very odd (I took French in high school).

I think I have semi-photographic memory. Not exactly photographic, but there have been many times where I’ve known the answer to a test question by saying, “oh, that stuff is on the page with the picture of the spider on it, in the third paragraph in the middle of… oh yeah! That’s it!” or, “that’s on the notes where I have the chart of moments of inertia for various shapes, and… BINGO!”