So like I'm a verbal learner or what?

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Joined: 10 May 2005
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Posts: 7,211

01 Jul 2012, 3:06 pm

Years ago, I took a fairly authoritative test that said I'm a verbal learner, at which I was very surprised, as I had considered myself a visual learner, but once I sat down and thought about it, it seemed to make sense in many ways, but in some ways it didn't, but even those ways could be interpreted in support of the assertion I'm a verbal learner.

For example, I've always enjoyed learning languages, and I think I'm doing well in the current language I'm learning, and I think I've adopted at least a fairly accurate accent in the language, meaning that at worst I have a light foreign accent when I speak it. I've been enjoying doing a lot of the same stuff I enjoyed doing when I was learning my native language, such as browsing through dictionaries, reading fiction, browsing around reading on different, random topics that capture my interest. I watch television shows and movies and often repeat the same scenes over and over again, hearing the dialogue and music, in my Aspie way as I stim to them--and will sometimes put the sounds on my mp3 player so I can do it when I'm not at home. I like discovering the different ways of saying things and by repeating them I think I learn them well.

Nevertheless, speaking and writing is still weak in that language, even though my accent may be accurate, as was true for a long time when I was learning my native language, though I eventually caught up. Even now, I dislike writing for some reason; I dread the idea of having to keep, say, a journal, as it seems like it would just be pointless, hard work. When speaking, I often fail to fully capture my thoughts, ideas, and experiences, and I'm always disappointed in myself for that. But even that may not be disproof, because as a kid I learned very early on that there were certain things that must not be said. I had strong gender dysphoria (male to female) from a very early age, and early on I learned that expressing feminine things, displeasure with the male role, or desire to fit into the female role, was prohibited, and so from an early age I set up a very strong self-monitoring system where I would consciously check and filter my thoughts before verbalizing them.* I think this severely stunts my writing and expressive ability, as I'd be sitting there with a blank journal with thoughts on various topics coming up, but reminding myself that I should not express them becuase they would be inappropriate and would meet with disapproval, and I would already feel that disapproval. Then I would just write down safe things, like stuff that happened that day, while minimizing what I thought about it, and I think that over time I just came to conclude that keeping a journal was both boring and tedious, and I began to engage in avoidance behaviors with regards to that. I think I may run into the same issues in speaking with people, as I list certain beliefs, thoughts, and memories as absolutely do not say, and I quiver when I think about them myself so I avoid doing it, but they are still there regardless! Because of that, I have to wonder if factors other than learning styles contributed to that. As for the language I am learning, I know my speaking and writing ability will catch up if I just keep working at it, so I never consider myself a failure!

I've always been good at math and computers, including computer programming, so wouldn't that right there be disproof? Well, one thing I noticed when doing math, is that I like to pronounce the symbols as their meaning in my head as I read them. I find when I read anything, I must at least think it aloud to myself in a verbal way, or I feel like I didn't really get it. Now that I'm learning a foreign language, I've been working on pronouncing the numbers and symbols in my head in that language. I learned math at a very early age, with much encouragement from my father, even learning algebra at like age 7 or 8, which gave me the confidence that I could do it. Computer programming is essentially analogous to language in many ways, with syntax and keywords (being function words essentailly), where you get to define your own content words (which are the identifiers), which is why what you use to program are called programming languages. So I don't think that is disproof at all, and more just a neutral indicator.

Because of all this, I accept I am probably a verbal learner, though in some ways on the surface I may appear to be a visual learner, and for some reason it feels liberating to know that.

* Ironically, I think it was this self-monitoring system that helped me correct a lot of my disciplinary problems as a teenager. Basically, my parents told me to monitor myself and use reason to make decisions, and once that was verbalized to me, I was very easily able to begin doing that to where by the time I graduated high school--with my senior year being by far the best both in terms of behavior and schoolwork--I was able to stop seeing a therapist regularly and was able to stop all the psychiatric medication I had been taken. I actually stopped taking the psychiatric medication on my own, without discussing it with anyone, because I hated the side effects and the concept of being dependent on the medication, and I simultaneously felt guilty about doing that and, because I had done that before with my dad threatening to put me back in a psychiatric institution if I did that again, worried that if I revealed it to anyone I would be put in a psychiatric institution. Nevertheless, a month before I turned 18, the guilt got to me, and I revealed it to my father, who instead of fulfilling his threat remarked how despite that I had made massive improvements anyway. I got the same sentiments from my psychiatrist, who promptly dropped my prescription. It seems that self-monitoring is very powerful, and also gives me a sense of being an almost outside entity, who has hijacked my body and always has several options with which to control it; I also almost always have a sense of being watched.