Forty to?


How do you think?
27 January 2011, 10:30 am
Filed under: Aspergers, Blog, Movies, Science | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I watched the HBO movie ‘Temple Grandin’ last night. It was both entertaining and enlightening. For starters I already knew who Ms. Grandin was, having seen her talk at a TED conference. There’s also that fact that she’s Autistic, well, a High Functioning Autistic. Watching the movie, as so often does for those of us that can related to a character or person, provided several insights. Most importantly to me, was the realization and you and I, and everyone else for that matter think differently.

I’d read some about this before, the physicist Richard Feynman had spoke about this before, and was able to do some rudimentary experiment. Dr. Feynman had mentioned to a colleague that he could both perform calculations in his head and read the morning paper, his colleague vehemently opposed this, saying it was impossible and that he refused to believe it. Viewing this as a challenge, Dr. Feynman located some newspapers and the two of them sat down and began counting to themselves while reading the paper. Dr. Feynman was able to count to 20 or so before his college gave up stating he could not carry on. When Dr. Feynman asked him why, the answer provided surprised him.

You see, the way Dr. Feynman thought was somewhat similar to Ms. Grandin’s way of thinking, he visualized things. When Dr. Feynman was counting, what was actually in his mind was a ticker, and as he counted he would visualize the dial clicking over to the next number as he went on, this mental imagery was dealt with in a completely different manor than the text he was reading on the newspaper. However his colleague stated that when he counts in his head he actually speaks the numbers in his mind, this method directly conflicts with how he was processing the text he was also trying to read at the same time. Dr. Feynman realized that this would certainly cause issues when trying to perform a task similar to his little experiment.

Now all of this has caused me to stop and think about how my own mind processes information, and I’ve come to realize that my mind works the way Dr. Feynman’s colleagues does. Everything in my mind is spoken, by this sort of internal monologue. My own little announcer you might say. Now that’s not to say that my own mind is void of imagery, quite the contrary. When I need to think about how something works, or say I’m trying to imagine how a character should look for a short story, I can easily conjure up an image in my head. I don’t however have the near perfect recall that Ms. Grandin has, I do find that I can think in images the way Dr. Feynman spoke of. However this isn’t the norm for me.

So I’d like to ask, how do you think? Do you think in pictures? words? sounds? maybe number or colors swirl in your brain when you think? perhaps you’re the type of person who develops thinking systems, such as the Though Castle or Memory Palace? Who knows, but I’d love to hear all about it.

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