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S-P-M-E
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13 May 2010, 8:00 pm

I know that as a group we're much more likely to think visually than NT's, but I'm just the opposite; I'm almost totally incapable of seeing anything in my head, even things or people that I'm extremely familiar with. The best I can manage is a brief, dark, vague flash of the desired image, even if I stare intently and then close my eyes and try to see it. Even when I have, um, adult thoughts, what I have in my mind is like a movie soundtrack; no visuals at all.

I do dream normally, though, in fact I have very vivid dreams and unusually high dream recall... but the visual part fades very quickly, within minutes of waking, even though I might remember the "plot" and dialogue for days, weeks, whatever.

And; I have excellent recall of what you might call the facts about what I've seen, for example I remember that the last time I saw my mother she was wearing a leopard print blouse, black and silver jewelry, and eye liner without eye shadow, but I can't SEE those things in my mind.

Is anyone else this way?


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bee33
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13 May 2010, 8:12 pm

I think I'm a visual thinker in that I think in concepts that have sort of a physical place in my mind's landscape, if that makes sense. I perceive associations among different ideas by sensing them as having a different "feel" that goes together or does not. I can much more easily imagine the structure of an idea than the actual words I would use to describe it.

These are all aspects of visual thinking, I believe, but I don't ever have fully formed, recognizable images in my head, more like a vague sense of how ideas belong together. I went to art school so I can read visual images that are in front of me well (rather than scanning them for literal meanings --what is it a picture of? -- which is what most people tend to do), and I can draw from life quite well, but I am terrible t drawing from memory because I don't recall exactly how something looks.

I can also absorb information or a concept far better from a diagram than I can from a paragraph or essay.

But no, I don't "see" fully formed images in my mind.



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13 May 2010, 8:38 pm

I'm kind of like that. I can't picture something that's been described to me, or what someone looked like the last time I saw them, but when I read I can see what is going on perfectly. It works the same way when I am writing my book: I literally see what is happening and I just translate the events into written words.

I'm a photographer as well, so when I'm trying to shoot something, I have a general idea of what I want the photo to come out like, but I don't have the exact picture in my mind until I peer though the viewfinder.


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13 May 2010, 8:52 pm

I'm a "try new things" type of thinker. I like to find new ways of doing things. When I was a kid I was visual because I spent lot of time drawing and thinking about one thing, and visualizing a certain scene over and over in my head that I might have made up myself or seen someplace but couldn't place.

I was, and still am, incredibly curious. I was the type of kid people got annoyed with because I asked a lot of questions, constantly, and wanted to talk about one thing all the time and that was horses. People wanted me to go away and be quiet so I would go to my room and draw more horses. I would picture something in my head and try to draw it, but it wasn't anything I was consiously trying to draw from memory.

Sometimes I see things and they stay in my head and I can visualize them later, other things I cannot remember much about or only get a vague idea of what it is I am trying to picture.



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13 May 2010, 10:09 pm

S-P-M-E wrote:
I know that as a group we're much more likely to think visually than NT's, but I'm just the opposite; I'm almost totally incapable of seeing anything in my head, even things or people that I'm extremely familiar with. The best I can manage is a brief, dark, vague flash of the desired image, even if I stare intently and then close my eyes and try to see it. Even when I have, um, adult thoughts, what I have in my mind is like a movie soundtrack; no visuals at all.

I do dream normally, though, in fact I have very vivid dreams and unusually high dream recall... but the visual part fades very quickly, within minutes of waking, even though I might remember the "plot" and dialogue for days, weeks, whatever.

And; I have excellent recall of what you might call the facts about what I've seen, for example I remember that the last time I saw my mother she was wearing a leopard print blouse, black and silver jewelry, and eye liner without eye shadow, but I can't SEE those things in my mind.

Is anyone else this way?


I think I can relate to this in some of the ways you mentioned.

I also have only brief, dark, vague, shadowy flashes of visual images.

Just a few weeks ago....I couldn't remember how many sides a cube has because I couldn't visualize them in my head.


That is....I could somewhat visualize a cube itself....I just couldn't determine the number
of sides it has based on this visualization. I had to actually LOOK at a cube before
I could do that. But now i'll forever remember that a cube has six sides.

Now unlike you....I do get some visuals in my "adult thoughts", but they
are also vague and brief. I can be visualizing a certain person i've seen
countless times and the image never stays in my mind for long.

I also "dream normally" and my dreams are very vivid. They are extremely
surreal though to the point where they make no sense at all and I
can barely explain them to my own rational mind let alone that of
anyone else. I do not recall many of my dreams though, probably
only a few per month if that. I don't have a good recall of things
i've seen either. I can't usually remember what people were wearing
last time I saw them....even if I saw them a few minutes ago. Now I never
try to remember these things, they just don't matter to me. Nonetheless,
most people who do remember such things probably don't make any
conscious effort to do so either, they just remember them "organically"
so to speak.


In any case....alot of things about my own brain are a mystery. This is one of the lesser
mysteries though. I was told I fit the general pattern of NVLD on three out of the five
neuropsych evals i've had. Much like many with NVLD....I was also told I have poor, or
at least, below average, visual memory. As is often, if not always, the case with NVLD,
my lowest IQ subtest scores were in the performance section of the WAIS. I always within
the "borderline" or "impaired" range on the object assembly subtest and in the "low
average" or "borderline" range on the block design subtest.

Reading comprehension, vocabulary, similarities and information on the Verbal section
of WAIS are always in the "above-average" to "very superior" range. My arithmetic
subtest scores on VIQ are a relative weakness as opposed to these other scores and I
always score in the average-high average range on that subtest.


IOW.....all very common for NVLD and i'm sure I share this WAIS profile with thousands, if not millions.



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13 May 2010, 11:20 pm

Temple Grandin points out that there are three kinds of autistic thinkers, and visual thinkers are only one of the three.

The other two types of thinkers are:

1) mathematical/musical - often good at things like algebra, unlike the visual thinkers. I am one of these. These people often think in terms of patterns. They make good computer programmers too, as well as mathematicians.

2) verbal/historical thinkers - good at remembering facts about things, make good journalists. I have a little of this too.

I am not a visual thinker.



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14 May 2010, 12:01 am

Have you ever tried magic mushrooms? I gaurantee you they will make you think visually. Pictures are the only thing that can make a half decent attempt at keeping up with your thoughts on shrooms.



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14 May 2010, 12:09 am

I have also never been able to think visually. Its a shame....the ability to think visually would come in very handy for me this summer, since I have to get through two statistics courses. : Roll: I hate graphs with a passion!!



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14 May 2010, 1:40 am

S-P-M-E wrote:
I remember that the last time I saw my mother she was wearing a leopard print blouse, black and silver jewelry, and eye liner without eye shadow, but I can't SEE those things in my mind.


i am completely the opposite of you this way so i'm curious. how do you remember these things then? i immediately get a picture of it just reading the words. do you have any idea where they come from or what "triggers" the words?


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14 May 2010, 2:32 am

S-P-M-E wrote:
I know that as a group we're much more likely to think visually than NT's, but I'm just the opposite; I'm almost totally incapable of seeing anything in my head, even things or people that I'm extremely familiar with. The best I can manage is a brief, dark, vague flash of the desired image, even if I stare intently and then close my eyes and try to see it. Even when I have, um, adult thoughts, what I have in my mind is like a movie soundtrack; no visuals at all.

I do dream normally, though, in fact I have very vivid dreams and unusually high dream recall... but the visual part fades very quickly, within minutes of waking, even though I might remember the "plot" and dialogue for days, weeks, whatever.

And; I have excellent recall of what you might call the facts about what I've seen, for example I remember that the last time I saw my mother she was wearing a leopard print blouse, black and silver jewelry, and eye liner without eye shadow, but I can't SEE those things in my mind.

Is anyone else this way?


Yep, that's me. Although I don't have very good memory for details. :?


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14 May 2010, 8:52 am

I don't believe I'm a visual thinker. A lot of my thought is verbal, and the stuff that isn't is a combination of spatial or structural sense and mood. For example, I would memorize chapters from my biology textbook by creating "tangles" or mental mazes that I would run through in my mind during essay exams to explain concepts. One thing was connected to another as in a big tree. Many people tell me my writing is very visual, but I when I write I am trying to explain the ineffable "tangles" and mood associations in my mind. I am also a designer and while I guess I impress my professors, I have a hard time recalling how people look, or rotating 3D images in mind unless I make an effort to. I'm probably better than others at visualizing how a piece I'm working on will look if I make this or that change, but it has taken practice for it to come to me. I believe most of my thinking is blind thinking, I even have a hard time describing in words what my mood associations are...emotion, or sensory information..."vibe" is a vague word but it comes close enough.



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14 May 2010, 9:30 am

one-A-N wrote:
Temple Grandin points out that there are three kinds of autistic thinkers, and visual thinkers are only one of the three.

The other two types of thinkers are:

1) mathematical/musical - often good at things like algebra, unlike the visual thinkers. I am one of these. These people often think in terms of patterns. They make good computer programmers too, as well as mathematicians.

2) verbal/historical thinkers - good at remembering facts about things, make good journalists. I have a little of this too.

I am not a visual thinker.


Temple Grandin seems to have an overly limited conception of autistic thinking, and also doesn't get that the majority of people in general are visual thinkers. She used to say all autistics were visual. Then she upgraded to three types. But there are really more types and combinations of types than she seems capable of thinking up.

If I think spatially it's movement through space, like a blind person uses. I mostly think in patterns, but not "musical/mathematical" ones. Just patterns between things I've directly observed, regardless of what it is. As far as my senses go, visual and auditory nearly always come in feeling overwhelmed and scrambled, olfactory is virtually never scrambled (but nobody ever talks about smell), kinesthetic slightly more scrambled than smell, tactile slightly more scrambled than kinesthetic. Proprioception can get incredibly scrambled like vision and sound.

I use whatever scraps I can get from whatever sense is available. With the addition of synaesthesia and sensory "noise", this can get interesting. Then I get the patterns between the sensations. This doesn't feel the same kind of "thinkingish" that abstraction does. It's very... quiet, in comparison.

What's harder for me is thinking based in idea-abstract-stuff. I can appear to simulate it well but that's still often using patterns (like I learned language as visual and auditory patterns). Even "simple" abstraction can require quite a burst of power to reach "escape velocity" from my normal way of thinking. I can sometimes do rather complex abstraction but never without a cost and not for extended periods. My usual analogy is it's like climbing a cliff, and the moment I let go I fall back to what for me is the ground.

I have read Temple Grandin's descriptions before and none of them fit me well. I don't even know if she uses the word patterns the same way I do because the sets of skills she describes for that.... aren't mine, at all.


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14 May 2010, 11:38 am

Yep, I can't picture anything in my head either; not even basic shapes or colors.



Assembly
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14 May 2010, 12:21 pm

I'm pretty much a natural when it comes to drawing/painting, but I have the same problems as topic starter - and have a hard time picturing objects/faces etc. I'm also a great problem solver, but I have to resort to writing things down first. Is this common? aren't artists supposed to be visual thinkers or at least have good visual skills.



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14 May 2010, 12:31 pm

Assembly wrote:
I'm pretty much a natural when it comes to drawing/painting, but I have the same problems as topic starter - and have a hard time picturing objects/faces etc. I'm also a great problem solver, but I have to resort to writing things down first. Is this common? aren't artists supposed to be visual thinkers or at least have good visual skills.
Good visual skills are "seeing" skills, not necessarily "imagining" skills. People who are not good at seeing look at images for what they represent, they don't really notice the shapes etc. of the image itself. Just like people who don't have a good ear (and I count myself in that category) are not good musicians.



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14 May 2010, 12:32 pm

anbuend wrote:
Temple Grandin seems to have an overly limited conception of autistic thinking, and also doesn't get that the majority of people in general are visual thinkers. She used to say all autistics were visual. Then she upgraded to three types. But there are really more types and combinations of types than she seems capable of thinking up.


This is why I find her highly annoying.
She is the type of person with ASD who thinks most people with ASD are like her. Being so visible, a lot of people buy into her perspective.
Obviously, it's changed since I last checked because yeah, originally she insisted all people with ASD were visual thinkers.
Her 'three varieties' now is much better but still lacking.
Funny how she can know her ability to sit in other people's shoes is lacking, but she pretends to 'know' Autistic Minds.

.../rant.


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