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DingoDv
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04 Apr 2007, 5:26 pm

Having just read Temple Grandin's eloquently titled "Thinking in Pictures", does anyone know what to think in words actually is?
Do you see words and no pictures in your mind or what?



Starbuline
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04 Apr 2007, 5:42 pm

Sometimes I see the word spelled out, but it's flashy gold with a black backround.



Chimaera1618
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04 Apr 2007, 6:00 pm

I see words and pictures



NoCriminalIntent
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04 Apr 2007, 6:06 pm

Patterns of pictures predominently. In fact, if I dont have an opening picture to frame things by, ive been known to come to a complete standstill, like Temple's horses.

Sometimes actually thinking in words can be an immense struggle. Example, as a child I was supposed to pray in my head while kneeling (Catholic stuff) and sometimes I couldnt get past 'Holy Mary' or whatever, but I could see the prayer played out in my mind in pictures.


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mariiha
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04 Apr 2007, 6:10 pm

i am horrible with words (although i love words and keep a dictionary at hand).
guess that sums me up as visual imagery; i see pictures, not words. it is difficult to follow conversation unless the speaker can use key words i can readily use as images...the more images, the more i understand.



Starbuline
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04 Apr 2007, 6:12 pm

mariiha wrote:
(although i love words and keep a dictionary at hand).


I keep my Russian dictionary at hand. :D



okar
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04 Apr 2007, 6:49 pm

Hello,

This is not an easy one.

i don't understand what thinking in pictures or words is exactly.

I imagine thinking in pictures is what babies or small infants do, right?

Since they don't know the words yet, for example if they are hungry they see a picture of a bottle with milk in their head or maybe the taste of the milk comes to their taste buds?

I don't know what being NT is like, but I find it hard to accept that NTs think in words exclusively.
I'm sure the words evoke pictures or sensations or emotions to them. That's what happens to me.

For example, during a conversation, I hear the words, simultaneously I spell it out in my mind and it's as if i'm listening and reading plus some words also bring up pictures in my mind as well as smells, tastes, emotions, etc.

Well, i hope that made sense.

Okar.



JakeG
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04 Apr 2007, 6:52 pm

This is a wierd one for me because although I started read and speak from an extremely young age (In fact I remember my mother being quite surprised that I could read so fluently before I started school - I think it was because I picked up the basics of letters from childrens' TV shows e.g. Sesame Street and then read anything incessently e.g. food packets, newspapers and books that were left lying around etc.); I have never felt that English (or any other language) has been a mother tongue to me. I remember in French class at school the teacher once explaining to us that part of the difficulty of foreign languages was that you had thoughts and then had to mentally translate them to the foreign language and I explained that it was the same for me when speaking English. The way I have dealt with it is to leave myself long thinking gaps before responding in speech and considering how to phrase something before speaking.

I think there are several advantages to this way of thinking; I think it makes it easier to develop foreign language and mathematical skills amongst other things.

For instance, in mathematics you tend to get the problem that people try and carry through the thinking in words mentality to dealing with mathematics and they tend to end up thinking in terms of shuffling round meaningless symbols instead of thinking in more concrete terms of the mathematical objects/problem in hand. In fact, I think the fact that I naturally avoid this thinking style is probably why I feel such a deep connection to mathematics because it means that things have a certain tangible 'reality' in my head.



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04 Apr 2007, 7:48 pm

okar wrote:

i don't understand what thinking in pictures or words is exactly.

I imagine thinking in pictures is what babies or small infants do, right?


Ive done it all my life. Its like being in a multiplex with no walls between the screenings, just one big theatre with walls and walls of pictures. Of course I only focus on one screening at a time usually. And it doesnt mean I dont use linear words, its just that the words come after the picture forms. The picture is the key. Its also why I can think faster than anyone else Ive known, cause a picture is a thousand words. :)


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ixochiyo_yohuallan
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05 Apr 2007, 2:08 pm

As far as I know, "thinking in words" means one has this ongoing commentary in one's head regarding whatever one happens to be thinking about. That is, one doesn’t exactly hear the words, as such (“sounding thoughts” is supposed to be a symptom of schizophrenia), but one somehow senses them inside. It happens to me once in a while – I normally think in pictures, but sometimes there is a word or a fragment of a phrase among them. The other day I happened to think about my mother using some of my perfume. I first I “saw” in my mind’s eye the two perfume bottles I have, one spherical and rosy and the other rectangular and brown, the way they stand on my desk; I “saw” the rosy one almost full, then I “saw” my mother pick up the brown one, with just a little perfume left, and spray some of it on herself; then I distinctly said to myself something like, “ah good, this perfume is the better one anyway”. Then there were only pictures again. Or once, when I was thinking about responsibility, I was remembering many situations where I, or someone else, could be said to evade it - it was like living through these situations once more, because I was “seeing” them all over again, complete with what was being said at the time. My mind kept jumping rapidly from one of these situations to another. Then, out of the blue, I told myself: “no, it’s wrong, one must not evade responsibility like this, must not evade one’s obligations”. It’s like having a film playing in one’s mind, with the focus shifting all the time, and a bit of commentary being thrown in here and there. Temple Grandin appears to describe something very similar – she says her thinking is like a VCR tape, with sound and all, playing in her mind, and I can definitely relate to that – but she doesn’t have even the occasional words in it (apart from the words that are part of her memories).

For me, these verbal bits are very brief, usually just pieces of phrases that break off very soon. They are still accompanied by pictures (the flow of pictures usually doesn’t stop when I say something to myself), and also, I often see the words themselves spelled out before me in colorful letters. So I may hear the words in my mind, see an image, and have the words “printed” against it all at the same time.

If there are no images to back the words up, they seem sort of meaningless. I can’t think through any logical sequence, or make comparisons, for example, while using only words, and I have to think of some manner of imagery to help me with it. I can’t go on thinking in words for any longer stretch of time. I certainly can’t continuosly “describe” in my head everything I see or everything I’m thinking about; and I don’t think I can imagine what it would be like to be doing just that the entire time, and to have only words in one’s mind but no images. That is, I theoretically know that some people do it, but I have trouble understanding what it is really like.

The only times when I can have a sustained inner monologue is when I imagine myself having a conversation with somebody (whether that person is real or imaginary). Then I usually picture myself and that person in a room, or some other setting, and go on to imagine myself talking to them. I often do this spontaneously when daydreaming, and I think it has taught me to think in words much better than I could before. It still may feel forced though, especially when I keep doing it for a longer period, and may become kind of painful. I guess the most natural state for me is to keep words to a minimum and to think in images, or in silent emotional states when there are no images either and my mind seems “empty”.



SarahR
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05 Apr 2007, 2:16 pm

What if you don't think in pictures or words? I've never quite understood "thinking," because I can visualize pictures, or I can listen to myself talking to myself in my head, but those aren't really "thinking" to me. When I "think about something," I kind of get a sensory amalgam of the thing - all 5 senses, but not concrete images, more flashes of color... I guess it's mostly touch, taste, and smell, with bits of sound and color thrown in.

But I can "think in pictures" or "think in words" if called upon to do so... Anyone know what I'm talking about?


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05 Apr 2007, 2:47 pm

I think more in words than I do in pictures. I guess I could say my mind is sort of like an encyclopaedia, mainly word-based but with pictures to help when the words cannot explain a meaning.

I understand my thoughts based on reading the text that goes on in my mind when I'm thinking... it's a little weird... when I was younger, I thought that my thoughts aren't really mine because of the reading thing... I used to think that somebody else wrote them for me and I just did the reading work.



ixochiyo_yohuallan
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05 Apr 2007, 3:37 pm

SarahR wrote:
What if you don't think in pictures or words? I've never quite understood "thinking," because I can visualize pictures, or I can listen to myself talking to myself in my head, but those aren't really "thinking" to me. When I "think about something," I kind of get a sensory amalgam of the thing - all 5 senses, but not concrete images, more flashes of color... I guess it's mostly touch, taste, and smell, with bits of sound and color thrown in.

But I can "think in pictures" or "think in words" if called upon to do so... Anyone know what I'm talking about?


I'm not sure that I know. I have these times when there seems to be nothing in my mind, no words, no images. They seem to go so deep down they can no longer surface. At such times I usually feel completely drawn in by the things that surround me, and can see them more clearly than ever (since what is happening in my own mind isn't distracting me). But I'm definitely still thinking. I experience emotions, and there are these movements my mind makes, which are difficult to describe; it's like catching a glimpse of a submarine's dark contour moving deep underwater without being able to actually see what it is, if that makes any sense. I seem to have used this type of thinking most of the time when I was small, up to age 14 or so. Then I began to gravitate more towards thinking in images.

But I don't think I've ever used multi-sensory images in the full sense of these words. I remember scents and tactile sensations sometimes, of course, but they don't come naturally when I'm just thinking about something, especially something I've never experienced in real life (as opposed to something from the past that I remember) - only images do.



neongrl
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05 Apr 2007, 4:22 pm

I think mostly in pictures and video, as if I were seeing/looking at something or watching an event happen.



Knasher
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05 Apr 2007, 4:53 pm

Well it depends what I'm thinking about, as there are some things which can only expressed using one or the other or even both. For instence if I'm thinking about the interaction of data structures for a program, then to me that is inherintly visual. Similiarly if I'm thinking about philosophical things then it would be easist to imagine it as two people talking, throwing counter points at each other in an attempt to reach a conculsion that they can both be convinced about (or just me). Then if I was preparing myself for a social interaction, I would imagine myself talking to the people that I would be socializing with in the place where I will be socializing with them in. So that would be a combination of both visual and acoustic but neither would be as clear if it was a single thread of just one (for some reason I never really see them its more like there is a non-descript maniquin representing them but I feel the same emotions that I would towards the maniquin that I would towards the person).
The only time I see letters flashing in my head is when I'm trying to remember how to spell a word or do maths or things like that. I definetly don't think in smells tho, thats just crazy.