Concrete thinker vs literal thinker,is there a difference?

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firemonkey
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28 Mar 2019, 12:24 pm

I've had people who've said I'm both.


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BTDT
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28 Mar 2019, 12:27 pm

Maybe you are both.

Maybe it is like them weather in Connecticut. It is both hot and cold, depending on when you go outside. Then there are those people from warm climates, who think that anything below 60 degrees (16 degrees C) is cold!



epilanthanomai
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28 Mar 2019, 12:52 pm

Maybe you are! I'm definitely an abstract thinker, but frequently if I'm distracted or stressed I'll hear something and interpret it way more literally than the speaker intended, or reply to individual detail points and miss the bigger picture. So I think concrete-vs-abstract is one thing while literal-vs-...whatever-the-opposite-of-that-is is a different thing.



naturalplastic
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28 Mar 2019, 1:02 pm

My guess is:

A concrete thinker is someone who likes to work with their hands, and does not go in for abstraction.

A literal thinker is someone who doesn't get figurative speech, sarcasm, meaning laid between the lines, poetic imagery, and like that.

You can be one and not the other, or you can be both.



firemonkey
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28 Mar 2019, 1:15 pm

If there was a 'Working with your hands' IQ I'd probably be in the 0-10th percentile. The literal thinker description seems more accurate to me.


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naturalplastic
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28 Mar 2019, 4:03 pm

Actually you may be right.

Just googled "concrete thinking" and a site called "the Encyclopedia of psychology" says that the phrases "literal thinking", and "concrete thinking" are synonyms.

The example they give of concrete thinking is of a "patient" who got startled and looked down at the floor when the shrink suggested that "we are walking around on eggshells". So that would definitely be an example of "taking things literally".



AceofPens
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29 Mar 2019, 10:45 am

I was also told that I'm a concrete thinker. I feel like there must be a difference between the terms - I was diagnosed with impairments in abstract reasoning through my executive functioning tests (hence, I'm a concrete thinker), but I'm not a literal thinker at all when it comes to language. I easily draw information from figurative speech, sarcasm, and literary symbolism. At the same time, I can hardly do high school geometry. Perhaps "literal thinker" is meant to be applied to language impairments, while "concrete thinker" has more to do with truly abstract concepts, like higher math and philosophical ideas.


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firemonkey
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29 Mar 2019, 11:15 am

I'm not sure what geometry has to do with it(feel free to explain to me anyone) but my ability at it was poor-very poor.


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BTDT
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29 Mar 2019, 11:19 am

More than a few students have trouble with math because either their teachers weren't very good at it or it was presented in a manner that was difficult for the student to understand.



firemonkey
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29 Mar 2019, 11:37 am

BTDT wrote:
More than a few students have trouble with math because either their teachers weren't very good at it or it was presented in a manner that was difficult for the student to understand.


I was average at arithmetic and algebra at school . The fact I was poor/very poor at geometry had nothing to do with the quality of my teachers. I think it probably had more to do with my poor spatial ability.


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JustFoundHere
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15 Apr 2019, 8:54 pm

Yes, too much literal thinking can sometimes be a weakness! Conceptualizing too literally can limit interpretation of those subtleties common in many interactions.