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Verdandi
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03 Jan 2013, 10:07 pm

I find abstract principles difficult until I can find a way to connect them to concrete things. There are some abstract things that seem to come more easily than others, but I've had my challenges there as well.

I do think that black and white thinking tends to be linked directly to concrete thinking.



GiantHockeyFan
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04 Jan 2013, 7:46 am

I was originally planning to be a Civil Engineer until I realized I simply could not grasp abstract concepts at all and it was a must for that program. I'm better than I used to be but it's still a mighty challenge to solve anything abstract. Of course, I had to choose economics instead which I found out in my last year was even MORE abstract, especially in banking.



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04 Jan 2013, 9:49 am

dimfuture wrote:
I have read that people with AS have problems with abstract thinking and generalizing. This statement confuses me because aspies are often good in disciples that requires abstract thinking (like computer science, mathematics, physics, etc.).


If anything, I suspect that both "people with AS have problems with abstract thinking " and "aspies are often good in disciples that requires abstract thinking (like computer science, mathematics, physics, etc.). " are perhaps worse than generalizations: are a kind of "urban myths" that probably had never been empirically tested.

The "AS have problems with abstract thinking" could be true in the 1980s, when the research about AS was almost limited to adults, then to the most severly affected (why an adult with mild problems will be assessed?). Then, could make sense that individuals with problems with abstract thinking (having more problems in day-to-day life because poor abstract thinking, they were more probable to end up as "objects of study"). Today, I suspect that is false.

The "aspies are often good in (...) computer science, mathematics, physics, etc.". could be true, but could be also a myth propagated by the correlations that Simon Baron-Cohen has measured between autistic traits (measured by AQ) and academic areas. AFAIK, the research of SBC is very criticized by other researchers. And, attending that, higher your IQ, higher the probablity of, when the shrink is thinking "AS or Autism?", AS be choosen as diagnosis, and, being expectable a correlation between IQ and a abstract thinking, it is exectabel that people diagnosed with AS will have good abstract thinking.



NalaFontaine
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07 Nov 2013, 12:38 am

tis true that the concept of abstract thinking being a weakness for AS can be considered as a myth
Generally, AS is all about the significant discrepancies in the wiring of the brain, including the lack of connection or exercised connection with mirror neurons, but that's why we can say that each person is different in this way because it's just a selection of but a few of the overall common traits which are results of this brain development.

Interesting to find such issues in balance like the two different types of creative imagination.
I am a very visual person, very logical, but I have never gotten the hang of role playing games. This kind of imagination (out of the nothing) I have weakness with.

I am currently taking a drawing class at my university and we had received our first major assignment. The end result will be a series of drawings, but the approach was so vague that the opening requirement of "image" was never defined, that "significant" was never related to anything, in short, some drawings of material that composes the generally vague imitation of an image made of other material than the image, that the material is spinning a different meaning to the image.... It's just too meta. She deliberately leaves interpretation so open, that there isn't even a box to think outside of.

I asked the teacher to break down the process to me so that I can focus on it in stages, so the first short assignment was to think of something I'd like to do a series of drawings of. I like to draw plushies for example, so I brought in a posable bear. Then the teacher said I needed to give it an idea. It's a plushie bear, there is no other meaning than that.

This whole project is just awfully philosophically modernist, I just can't stand it.



andrewlavigne
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07 Nov 2013, 6:42 am

NalaFontaine wrote:
tis true that the concept of abstract thinking being a weakness for AS can be considered as a myth
Generally, AS is all about the significant discrepancies in the wiring of the brain, including the lack of connection or exercised connection with mirror neurons, but that's why we can say that each person is different in this way because it's just a selection of but a few of the overall common traits which are results of this brain development.

Interesting to find such issues in balance like the two different types of creative imagination.
I am a very visual person, very logical, but I have never gotten the hang of role playing games. This kind of imagination (out of the nothing) I have weakness with.

I am currently taking a drawing class at my university and we had received our first major assignment. The end result will be a series of drawings, but the approach was so vague that the opening requirement of "image" was never defined, that "significant" was never related to anything, in short, some drawings of material that composes the generally vague imitation of an image made of other material than the image, that the material is spinning a different meaning to the image.... It's just too meta. She deliberately leaves interpretation so open, that there isn't even a box to think outside of.

I asked the teacher to break down the process to me so that I can focus on it in stages, so the first short assignment was to think of something I'd like to do a series of drawings of. I like to draw plushies for example, so I brought in a posable bear. Then the teacher said I needed to give it an idea. It's a plushie bear, there is no other meaning than that.

This whole project is just awfully philosophically modernist, I just can't stand it.



I think the idea of possible bears is pretty philosophical itself.



Mike1
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07 Nov 2013, 8:36 am

I don't have any problem with abstract thinking. In fact, I think abstractly enough that I often have a hard time understanding what's considered normal thought. Most of my thinking is abstract, from a culturally relevant perspective. It's like I'm part of a one-person culture that has barriers of understanding with the majority culture. A lot of ideas and rituals, that are considered normal by the majority culture, seem foreign to me. I have trouble understanding other people's abstract thought, but that's because, in order for me to understand it, I'd first have to understand what's considered normal thought, so I'd have an idea of what their abstract thought is referenced from. My abstract thought is referenced more often from personal experience than from culture, so it is often far separated from the abstract thought of other people. It might seem like I don't think abstractly because I don't try to communicate my abstract thought to other people, but that's because I know that they won't be able to understand it. It'd be like trying to explain the Tao to the average American, in a way that they'd understand. It'd take too much effort. I've spent a lot of time in isolation and grown apart from the majority culture. As a result, many of my thoughts are too culturally irrelevant for me to be able to explain them to someone else, in a way that they'd be able to understand them.



Ganondox
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07 Nov 2013, 10:48 am

I'm really good at abstract thinking.

Erminetheawkward wrote:
The statement that people with AS have problems with abstract thinking and generalization is a generalization itself in my opinion. I also engage in a lot of abstract thinking as a graphic designer.

The main AS traits that could contribute to that assumption is a tendency toward black and white thinking, that "all or nothing" mentality, and deficits in certain kinds of imagination. I once read a study showing that kids with AS often are lacking in one kind of imagination and abounding in the other. It makes sense to me. The first kind of imagination was thinking up something from nothing, total fantasy. The other kind is problem solving, and building from something to start with. People with AS tend to have the latter.

As for me personally, both of those are true. As for black and white thinking, I intellectually know better and usually catch myself unless I end up talking without thinking. And for imagination, I am very imaginative when I have something to build off of, such as a design brief or a school assignment, or something on the page when I'm sketching. But give me a blank piece of paper and I draw a blank.


Well I'm like the opposite, the more restrictions placed on me the less creative I get. I remember finding myself unable to form sentences as I child when they had to be about a specific topic, but I could just create this wild fantastic stories.


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11 Nov 2013, 9:29 pm

When you say abstract thinking do you mean random creativity? I'm not sure if I have this syndrome or not but I will say that I am terrible at math and tend to learn through reading and text like the internet.



IntellectualCat
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11 Nov 2013, 10:18 pm

I think this is as much of a myth as the notion that people with AS have no imagination.

Personally, I'm a very abstract thinker. I can often have a very active imagination, and it often involves bizarre themes. Also, when I hear or read a figure of speech, I visualize the literal interpretation, then come up with an analogy. Unfortunately, I over-apply that skill, and sometimes I think something is figurative when it is actually literal.

I also categorize details about a subject, and if multiple details fall under the same category, I generalize them. However, I do notice subtleties, which is the reason why I try to be as precise as possible when writing, and it is also the reason why I don't get black-and-white thinking.