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2ukenkerl
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08 Mar 2010, 11:13 pm

Well, *I* have perhaps 5 ways to think..

1. I can kind of visualize.
2. I can remember audibly.
3. If there is a set of things to do, I can do them almost like they are one operation,
4. The fourth one is kind of hard to explain. It is almost like I am looking at an index and how things can interrelate.
5. Is almost like a native language.

If I go to the store, and decide where to go, I may do #1

If I read, I USED to do #5, but now often do #2. 8-(

If I drive, I may use 1 and 3.

When I program, I often do 2 and 4. I figure how lines should be via sound, and there may be interactions where I use #4 to tie things together.

I have met a LOT of people that don't seem capable of 4. 5,1 and 2 are often seen as unusual. As for #3? Most people just seem to develop that out of, and for, habit.

You got me as to how people think. I recently told someone how I used to know where every little thing I knew came from. She, surprised, asked "So you had a photographic memory?". I said "Well, not really." She then said "So you remembered audibly?". I said, "No, not really.". Actually, I basically used like #5. It was like I just KNEW!



Irisrises
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09 Mar 2010, 8:23 am

I remember that the last time I replied to a thread on this topic I said I don't understand the question, and I guess I still don't.

I have thoughts that are purely pragmatic, and they are on target most of the time. I don't know that I even think them, I just know that things need doing, so I get them done. This can be food-and-shelter stuff, or if there are people around, how to deal with them. These are the things they call self-help skills.

I have other thoughts that are spiritualminded. They are in a bigger pespective I guess, the one that doesn't think I matter much.

And these two are in constant dialogue, helping each other by getting things from and for each other, or sometimes begrudging each other the space. Because I am only so big, and sometimes both the person and the spirit would like all of me to themselves, to satisfy themselves, which is not possible.

But neither of these kinds of thoughts are pictures, unless I'm having a vision, which is something different. If anything maybe they are sometimes maps, like how if you visit a website you might see a sitemap where you are shown the different parts of the site and how they are connected. Sometimes I can see these connections in real life, in a way that's not standard, and both my pragmatic thoughts and my spiritual thoughts can do this. But it is not constantly new, which it might be to someone else, because most of the time I follow a track I've spotted earlier, and I follow it until another, better one becomes apparent, and then I follow that one.

Can we have a concept of thoughts being like hooks, or something like that, joining things together in a way that makes sense? Because if anything I think that might be what I've got.



ruveyn
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09 Mar 2010, 10:36 am

alana wrote:
I have been thinking about this, how I keep reading that aspies think in pictures, I am wondering, is this really abnormal somehow? I can't imagine what other way there is to think. I am really trying to figure this out, what do the thoughts of the people who don't think in pictures look like? Are they not visible at all, are they auditory? Do they see the words in their head (I mean the word written out as opposed to an object the word describes) or just hear them? Is the 'thinking in pictures' thing true for you or is it just a stereotype? I never really thought about how I think but now that I have been thinking about it I can't figure out what other way there is to think, unless I am thinking some way that I am not aware of. It's hard to think about how you think, anyway.


Temple Grandin in her book -Thinking in Pictures- points out that this is highly variable. Some auties/aspies think in pictures, some do not. She points out that the mathematically inclined auties/aspies think in terms of abstract patterns.

ruveyn



Jingo8
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09 Mar 2010, 12:01 pm

I like all the steriotypical discworld responces to the rim question :)



anbuend
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09 Mar 2010, 12:32 pm

I don't think in pictures. I have fumbled about with words for a long time trying to describe how I think. My latest attempt stemmed from a bad misunderstanding I had with someone who assumed the words I used had to mean I believed something particular and would not believe me when I told him otherwise. So I wrote the following. Note that it is long and also that when I say "pattern" I don't mean an abstraction the way Temple Grandin talks of patterns and I think nothing like any of her types of thinker. Also this was on a blog so that's why I talk about deleting comments. So here goes:


The closer you get to the heart of things, the more words fall apart. First they get shaky. Then they start contradicting each other or getting paradoxical. Then they just fall apart, dissolve, vanish.

The way my thoughts work creates some similar problems for language. And it’s not just that I haven’t found the absolute best combination of words to translate my thoughts with. It’s that on a fundamental level the thoughts don’t translate.

My thoughts, such as I am aware of, are mostly observations of the world, that I have allowed to slowly and quietly settle themselves into patterns. They are not symbols of those observations. Symbols would have a better chance translating. They are also silent — no words pop in to describe them, there is no “loudness” about them, they don’t announce themselves with any kind of fanfare. I suspect to many people they would seem like an absence of thought.

I have also observed words. I have seen which clusters of words attach most frequently to which situations. And that is how I use words — as imperfect translations of situations that present themselves in my mind. I use words because they are the most readily recognized way to communicate with most people.

[With some people, words are not necessary. There are better ways to communicate. That is wonderful in every sense of the word.]

The way I use words can present problems though. I start with a situation and then I throw words at it. The problem is for any given situation there are many ways you could approach it with words. Some of those words might even seem contradictory if set side by side. But it’s not that the situation itself is contradictory, it’s just that language can be complex that way.

For instance, in my last post I described what could be called, and what are often called, subtypes of autism.

Someone replied saying they don’t believe in one type or many types of autism but that it seemed from my post as if I believe there are many.

The reality is more complicated than that.

Autism is not a thing. There are only the people who get called autistic.
I recently tried to describe the process that led to modern notions of autism. I have read many of the original sources for that and for other areas of psychiatric classification. My language skills were less fluent than stuff I normally publish online, but even though I am eating again (I was sick when I wrote it) I still can’t come up with more fluent language for the description I gave of the way ideas of autism have come about.

Quote:
Were original people designated as autistic.

Original people had their be.

Original people had their “seem to professionals”.

Those not the same.

Then people later might identify with the be. Or with the seem to professionals. Or with the seem to professionals of the original seem to professionals.

So later version of who is autistic ==

People be like original people be.
People be like original people seem to professionals.
People be like original seem to professionals seem to later professionals.
(…)
People seem (to self or professional or family) like original people be.
People seem (to …) like original people seem to professionals.
People seem (to …) like original seem to professionals seem to later professionals.
(…)

Which total complicate what people see now as one thing and try to find one common deficit.


So when I say autism it is a shorthand for a modern language-based classification of a bunch of human beings that involved a lot of biases, historical accidents, and clutter-minded evolution of the sort I described above.

So when I say subtype of autism I mean there are people with some cognitive things in common, who also happen to be classified by those stilts-upon-stilts-upon-stilts standards as autistic. I mean to refer to real live people that I have observed patterns in. Not the baggage that comes with the words.

So I could just as easily have described us in a way that involved a questioning of the entire category system that gave birth to notions like “autism has many types” or “autism has one type”.

This may not be the same reason that the guy who replied to me doesn’t believe in those things. But it is still a lack of belief in those things. And my lack of belief in those things is not changed by my use of the words that most people are familiar with — autism, subtypes, and so on. My lack of belief in those things also is not a good reason for a troll to reply saying something like “If you don’t believe in those things then stop calling yourselves autistic damn you.” To say such a thing is to take my words on entirely the wrong level, and such comments will be cheerfully deleted.

There are third, and fourth, and fifth, and so on, ways to describe the situation in the last post or for that matter in any of my posts. It can be hard to know which one to use, whether to combine a few, or what. And no matter which way I choose, I will be leaving out a world of important things.

Because of this, please don’t persist in telling me what I believe after I have confirmed I don’t believe it. It doesn’t matter if you come up with ten separate examples of words you are totally certain prove I believe something or come at it from a certain viewpoint. If I say I don’t, then I don’t.

To get back to the way I think, I am not even certain I have “beliefs” (even if I use the shorthand as if I do). Once you peel back the layers of language that I use for communication… I have observations and experiences, I have patterns of observations and experiences, and so on. “Belief” seems to require jumping up into language again. So do many other concepts that seem more language-based than anything. Language forces me to use many concepts that have nothing to do with the way my mind works when I am not writing. Those concepts form weird mesh-like frameworks in people’s heads and they then associate me with the mesh-like frameworks instead of with the person beneath them. (And it’s not just me this happens to, but everything.)

But if you look between the words (not the same as between the lines), rather than at them, you can start to see things far more interesting than the words themselves. (This is not abstract. This is as concrete as it gets. The words are the abstractions.)

The use of language has the annoying property of insisting on the reality of lots of abstract concepts. Even seemingly concrete words like “green” are arbitrary, and different languages will divide the colors different ways. (The Irish language, I am told, has more than one word that translates as green and one of them involves colors that in English would be specific shades of green, grey, and brown.) Whereas just looking at an object of certain colors doesn’t require figuring out how any given language classifies them. So literally anything I perceive has to go through a horrid process of translation and distortion and oversimplification. Even the most “literal” language is hopelessly abstract compared to what language is trying to describe.

Every single time I write, I pick up a set of tools. Those tools are the phrases I cobble together into sentences.

“Subtype of autism” is one example of such a tool. It is a shorthand for certain people that I have made certain observations about.

Just because I happen to use the nearest available set of translation tools does not mean I have, in picking up those tools, agreed to the entire worldview of the people who built the tools. I don’t have to agree that autism is a real thing, or that it is not socially constructed, in order to use phrases that include the term. I use these tools because the alternative is silence, not because I have picked up an entire set of beliefs about the world with every phrase I use.

Even more, my failure to describe something does not mean I haven’t observed it. A friend once told me that she envisioned my brain as having these enormous clumps of detailed information, but without a way to access most of it. Most of what I know, I can’t say. What I do say is just an approximation of a sliver of what is in here. Notice how much trouble I had describing part of the history of autism. Even when not sick almost all my attempts have looked similar. Does this mean I lack awareness of what has happened? Does this mean I view autism as a concrete reality, as a type of neurology, as all these other ideas words bring in? No. Not even if I use the word “neurotype”. I know this can be hard to understand but it’s true. No matter what I say will leave out 99% of the information and distort the rest. Don’t be fooled by words.

All of this is just a reminder for everyone, of how and how not to read the words I write. I am not trying to force anyone, or to say everyone is able to do this. I am just trying to give a reminder of how I do and don’t work. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t sweat it. It’s hard to get words to make sense on a topic as completely opposed to words as this one. It’s a little bit like seeing antimatter and trying to use matter in it’s vicinity. The fireworks are interesting.


_________________
"In my world it's a place of patterns and feel. In my world it's a haven for what is real. It's my world, nobody can steal it, but people like me, we live in the shadows." -Donna Williams


ursaminor
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09 Mar 2010, 12:37 pm

I just thought of something.
My jokes are always visual, I mean, it would be very funny if I saw it.
Except for the fact that usually these things cause death, such as heads exploding.
Even when I read jokes, the ones I find funny are the ones that either have a picture with them and I can imagine the person doing that or I they would be funny if they happened.



Michael_Stuart
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09 Mar 2010, 1:11 pm

When I think, I am simply talking to myself. I can perhaps conjure an image of something, but it's not part of my thought process. When I'm attempting to solve a problem, I am in debate with myself while in the background I process solutions. Consciously, it's "Yes, well maybe if we..." "No, that won't work." while there is a feeling I cannot describe of me actually attempting to process it.



willmark
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09 Mar 2010, 2:47 pm

I am NT, but I think in pictures. There is such a thing, by the way. Have any of you ever read this article?
http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:qIX ... clnk&gl=us

All my thoughts are in pictures feeling, and sounds. Words are stored in memory as sounds. When someone says something that is an idiom, or a figure of speech, I see the mental image in my mind's eye, with it's literal meaning, but yet I also know that the meaning is intended to be interpreted figuratively, So seeing the two of them at the same time cracks me up. I just got a visual image of me standing there with a crack splitting me in half very jaggedly. I call this form of humor that I get to be privy to, "visual pun".



Last edited by willmark on 09 Mar 2010, 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

j0sh
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09 Mar 2010, 3:09 pm

willmark wrote:
I am NT, but I think in pictures.


Yep, I read somewhere that 65% of the population thinks primarily in pictures. It's not something only people with autism do. I think the difference is that most people with Autism are less flexible with using thinking styles other than their primary style.

It seems that not thinking in pictures is more uncommon. I’ve asked about 100 people and only found two that couldn’t see any images in their mind. One has ADHD; the other is a mother of an Aspie… that is a bit Aspie herself.

I cannot visualize ANYTHING in my mind. I just have a head full of invisible information. I don’t go through a lengthy string of audio files to work something out either. I translate things to words afterward. The odd thing is that I test very high on the IQ test sub-tests that measure visual special processing… even though I can’t see the information I am manipulating in my mind.



ursaminor
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09 Mar 2010, 3:24 pm

willmark wrote:
I am NT, but I think in pictures. There is such a thing, by the way. Have any of you ever read this article?
http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:qIX ... clnk&gl=us

All my thoughts are in pictures feeling, and sounds. Words are stored in memory as sounds. When someone says something that is an idiom, or a figure of speech, I see the mental image in my mind's eye, with it's literal meaning, but yet I also know that the meaning is intended to be interpreted figuratively, So seeing the two of them at the same time cracks me up. I just got a visual image of me standing there with a crack splitting me in half very jaggedly. I call this form of humor that I get to be privy to, "visual pun".
Figures of speeches are great.
I know them well because I had a book I had a school which I would do when I had finished all my other language work (very often this happened) and it was cool.
I also literally called BS on that article because it described me as a younger person all too well.
Maybe this applies to many other children too.
I had many problems with times tables and loved Lego.
But lots of children had this, other things applied too but I do not want to make a lengthy post about myself.
Although there seems to be an overlap with autism and ADHD.
Not realy surprising, though.



willmark
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09 Mar 2010, 4:29 pm

ursaminor wrote:
Although there seems to be an overlap with autism and ADHD.
Not realy surprising, though.

This article describes my LD's very well. I am not AS but I have things in common with AS.



ursaminor
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09 Mar 2010, 5:02 pm

willmark wrote:
ursaminor wrote:
Although there seems to be an overlap with autism and ADHD.
Not realy surprising, though.

This article describes my LD's very well. I am not AS but I have things in common with AS.

It is very enjoyable to read.



willmark
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10 Mar 2010, 8:26 am

ursaminor wrote:
willmark wrote:
ursaminor wrote:
Although there seems to be an overlap with autism and ADHD.
Not realy surprising, though.

This article describes my LD's very well. I am not AS but I have things in common with AS.

It is very enjoyable to read.

The only part of the article that I don't think I relate to is this paragraph:
I Think in Pictures, You Teach in Words wrote:
Being a visual spatial learner with an auditory sequential processing weakness is like living in a foreign country with some grasp of the language but no proficiency. When information is presented to them in the auditory mode, they have to translate the information back into their primary visual mode. This requires them to leave reality temporarily in order to do this translating i.e. be unable to hear the current information that is being presented. Once the translation is complete, they return to external reality and continue to switch from taking in external information and closing off external reality in order to translate. The result is that they have a series of gaps where they know certain information and miss other bits of information. These gaps are especially apparent during review and on tests at school. Also the translation process takes time and this means that they have difficulty finishing tasks and tests in the time allotted.

Yes I do have to translate words spoken to imagery to understand what is being spoken, but I don't think I do this switching between listening mode and translating mode. If I have gaps in my information intake, I am unaware of it. For me, both modes are occurring simultaneously, and the translating seems like a subconscious process. My problems are either when I cannot translate what is said to image, or more commonly when I can think of two or more ways that it could be translated, and the speaker is giving no hints to help me determine which way they mean it.

The struggle for me is making certain that what I heard is the same thing as what was said. One attribute of CAPD is hearing a different word than what was said, with similar sounding words, like hearing 'thing' when the speaker said 'sing', etc. and most of the time what I heard makes no sense in context, so I have to ask them to repeat what they said, and they often assume I didn't understand their meaning, so tell me again but with different wording. This annoys me because I'm still back there trying to figure out what was supposed be in the spot in the sentence that is now making no sense. This also frustrates me because people assume I am having trouble understanding their meaning, when what I am having trouble discerning is their diction.

I have also discovered that I have much more difficulty communicating someone who thinks in words, than with someone who thinks in pictures. When I am talking or IM'ing with someone who thinks in pictures I would swear I read their mind. I frequently end up seeing the same image in my mind's eye as what they are describing from.



ursaminor
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10 Mar 2010, 11:56 am

I usually have an inner monologue reading my thoughts aloud to me, but when I imagine things I use images.
Some things I cannot use images or words for.



willmark
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10 Mar 2010, 12:08 pm

ursaminor wrote:
I usually have an inner monologue reading my thoughts aloud to me, but when I imagine things I use images.
Some things I cannot use images or words for.

I think out loud all the time too, and some things I don't bother to try to explain because I know they won't believe me anyway.



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10 Mar 2010, 3:23 pm

When I plan ahead I usually think in pictures so that I know what I'm doing.