Since my mind is the only one I can observe directly from the inside, I’ve noticed that I’ve made overbroad assumptions about how other people’s minds work based on my own internal life.
So, I’m wondering, what are some things you’ve learned on these boards that surprised you about how people think (not politically or anything like that, but just how people’s minds work).
Those pesky voices in my head…
I read very quickly, but sometimes I start “hearing” the words in my head as I read and suddenly, my reading pace plummets. The voice in my head can’t speak anywhere near as fast as I normally read.
I always assumed this is true for everyone, but many posters here say I’m nuts; they ALWAYS here a voice when they read and are baffled that I don’t.
The half-second lag…
I’m a hetero guy, happily married to a cute redhead, won’t cheat. But for one-half second after seeing any attractive woman I forget all this. During that time, my mind is bursting with a wave of animal lust and sheer enjoyment of every curve, twinkle of the eye, etc. Then after the half-second, BANG, The Voice: “Uh, that’s not for you anymore. Married. Redhead. Remember?”
Again, some guys have no idea what I’m talking about, which astounded me.
I never realized just how much I rely on visualizing thoughts in the form of something tangible.
Whenever I’m in a discussion with someone (IRL, not online) I find that I’m always seeing the words I want to say as though they are being typed right in front of my mind’s eye. All I’m really doing is reading off the script my brain prepared for me.
Similarly, when I’m trying to clear my mind, I’ve noticed that I inadvertently do that magna-doodle swipe thing to clear my ‘mental canvas’. Usually does the trick.
I’ve never been able to ‘hear’ voices when reading, but I can usually ‘see’ them, if that makes any sense to anyone. Not that I see a face, or even an image of a person, but I get a visual association of some kind, whether it be a shape, color, texture, etc. that is unique to that poster.
I sort of have to do that in reverse. I can understand a digital time instantly. but when looking at an analogue watch I must convert it in my head into a number type time (“the big hand is at the 20 position and the little hand is between the 8 and the 9, so the time is 8:20” says my semi-subconscious process)
I never hear the words I’m reading. Unless I’m intentionally trying to imagine how they’d sound when spoken (eg. preparing a speech).
You get past that in half a second? For me, it usually lasts around a minute or until she says, “Hello, my eyes are up here!” Whichever comes first.
This wasn’t an ‘epiphany’, per se, but I found it amused some people when I was in college. Some musicians can ‘hear’ the music as they read a score. Not I. However, if I ‘play’ it on an imaginary piano, I can … Strange how different senses can interconnect, ain’t it?
back to the op = When I am reading I get the voice taking over only very occasionally. 90 percent of the time I can process the sentences without sounding them out.
I have a different problem involving unclear sentences (and slightly too many words before the full-stop) whereby I have to read it over and over and over again before I understand what it is saying.
If someone asks me to spell a word, I can’t… until I go to a keyboard and type it.
If someone asked me to spell keyboard verbally It would take me roughly 2 seconds per letter, and often with big pauses to try to remember what letter is next. but I can type ‘keyboard’ in about a second.
Yeesh! I forgot to mention the part that cracked people up. If I put a finger in the ‘wrong’ position, I would ‘hear’ the missed note. It was evidently very amusing to watch me reacting to dissonant chords that nobody else could hear …
I don’t add whole numbers. I’ve been this way since I was a kid, and it used to drive my mother nuts.
For an (overly-simplified) example:
Given the problem-- 8+5+13= ?
I automatically break it down into 5 + 5 + 10 + 3 +3 = 26
Don’t know why, but the second problem just zips along in my brain while the first gets my gears all clogged up. Anyone else do this, or am I a total freak like my mama always said?
I don’t get the little talking voice when I read, but I get it when I think. I get a thought, know what I want to “say” in my head, then I have to say every word in my head, which is annoying because I think much faster than I “speak.”
Did that even make any sense?
I do the math thing belladonna talked about, too.
Sort of a highjack, but last night my dad and I saw a bumper sticker that said “Visualize whirled peas,” and we spent the next 15 minutes talking about our “whirled peas.” Mine are canned peas, slightly squished, greyish green in color, mixed with the canning liquid, just slowing down after finishing whirling very quickly. His peas are apparently garden fresh and bright green, and are whirling around very fast in the air.
He said that I need a healthier view of whirled peas.
I would break it down too, but not the same way. I would probably think 8 + 12 + 6 = 26.
I also hear myself in my head when I’m reading, but most of the time I can ignore it, if that makes any sense.
I just finished reading The Blue Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver, which involves some really hardcore computer hackers. Several of the characters in the book unconsciously “ghost-type” their thoughts on imaginary keyboards, which I thought was a really interesting concept.
When I’m in a really good math mode, I can add sets of numbers without consciously thinking about it. I guess I mean, I do arithmetic in two completely different ways.
One is where I think, okay, five plus six is 11, and if I want to add eight to that, I add one and eight, that’s nine, plus there’s a one in the tens place , that 19. . . Basically doing the math in my head the same way I’d do it if I was jotting the problem down on paper.
The other way is just freaky. I just run my eyes over the numbers and I can blurt out the answer. I don’t know what part of my brain is doing the math, but it’s not the part that deals with the numbers symbolically. It doesn’t always work. I usually have to be doing some sort of repititious task, like adding adding up grades on an exam.
I think all of these differences can be related back to learning styles. Some people learn by hearing. Some people learn by seeing. Some people learn by doing. Classes are usually taught doing all three so everyone gets something out of it.
I have the same spelling problem as Lobsang. Ask me to spell a word, I can’t without writing it down or typing it.
THe magna-doodle clearing thing cracked me up. I have at least two voices inside, one major, one minor, or at least they seem to be layered. I have the one that does the thinking, and an observer. I only notice teh observer when I am trying to clear my mind. I can get the major one to shut up, but the minor one always ruins it by exclaiming how well we are doing at thinking of nothing.