Concrete thinking vs Abstract thinking...

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Grey_Kameleon
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23 Feb 2008, 1:44 am

Can someone explain the difference between these? I've been intensely researching Asperger's Syndrome this past week, and there has been the startling feeling that I am looking directly in a mirror. I keep coming across the idea of 'concrete thinking', though, and that kind of stops me because I don't really 'get' what the difference is. They're just words to me, and I tend to get extremely hung up on words.

I'm just wondering if someone here is good at explaining it, maybe with life examples and not just words? Usually it's experiences that I can think of and be like, 'Yeah, that's me' or 'No, that is definitely not me'. Until then I'm just confused trying to sort out definitions.



Izaak
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23 Feb 2008, 5:51 am

Concrete thinking lacks the ability to generalise.

I.E. when I was shopping for my car I found it hard to generalise. That is, I found it hard to get my head around "convertibles" in general. Because that is what I wanted. Instead I thought more in terms of:

I want an Ford Capri, or I want a Holden Astra, or I want a Mazda Mx-5, etc...

Funnily enough when someone says the word "convertible" I think they are talking of the specific "ford capri." However I don't know if that is an example of "concrete thinking" or just a foible of my own. As no psych (or anyone for that matter) has explained it to me. That is just what I came up with after going through a journey very similar to your own in terms of defining terms and relating them to my own experience.



anbuend
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23 Feb 2008, 12:44 pm

Concrete stuff is tangible. It can be seen, heard, felt, tasted, or smelled. Abstract stuff can't.


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pakled
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23 Feb 2008, 12:46 pm

I've been told I have a noggin full of Quickcrete from time to time...;)

yeah, taking things literally is a problem...



SilverProteus
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23 Feb 2008, 1:50 pm

I think my thinking is so abstract at times that not even I understand it. :?


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23 Feb 2008, 5:01 pm

Concrete thinking is like doing a logic puzzle. You use the pieces of knowledge you have, and can explain step by step, or make a logical leap to how you came to a conclusion.
Abstract thinking is like a painting. It is full of feeling. The view of your painting, and the colors you want, are based on your mood, or the mood you want to create. Imagination is allowed to be free from things that make sense, and can create its own rules. Your conclusion exists because it can.


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KateShroud
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23 Feb 2008, 8:53 pm

Okay, let me give you an extreme example of my own literal, concrete thinking. My fiance told me soon after we started dating that he wanted to take my computer apart, because it was a macintosh, and he had no clue how those things worked. So I pictured him using a screwdriver on my precious machine, and I told him to stay the hell away from it. I was upset, and this went on for almost 2 weeks, until he explained to me that he only wanted to read the manual and examine the programs. Oh. What a strange, abstract way of telling me that. Also, when my professor in personal computing gave me permission to take apart the old computer they had on display, he was shocked when I took it completely literally and opened two sides of the case.



Tim_Tex
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23 Feb 2008, 10:15 pm

I feel that I am more of an abstract thinker, because I enjoy the possibility of being able to find multiple answers to a problem, rather than digging at a problem for long periods of time, trying frantically to find only one acceptable answer.

I like the idea of there being options.


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