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Let's Talk About Neurology

Let’s Talk About: Modes of Thought: “Blind” Mind

Way back when, I wrote two posts on imagination and modes of thought. Well, my Dad tends to read the BBC, and when he sees an interesting article on there, he tends to share it with the family. Early this morning he found one that has a very definite link to what I was talking about in those two posts. It’s about the fact that there are some people who are unable to visualize anything; it’s called “aphantasia”.

This man had no idea his mind is ‘blind’ until last week

It’s quite the interesting article, and I think will resonate with a lot of autistics, even if they don’t have aphantasia. The way the main interviewee described his experience and his realization – it’s a lot like an adult discovering that they are autistic. There’s very much a sense of: “you mean, other people don’t think like this?”

As you may be able to tell from my previous two posts, this is a subject that rather interests me. And while I can visualize, it tends to be (as I’ve mentioned before) the broad strokes of an image; it’s very difficult for me to get the details. So I don’t have aphantasia. But there were two descriptions in there that did resonate with my own personal modes of thought; the description of the interviewee who thinks in words, and the abstract concepts element.

Anyway. I thought I would bring this article to people’s attention. Please, feel free to engage in discussion about it – I’d like to know what other people think and/or have experienced themselves.

‘Later, all!

🙂 tagÂûght

By tagÂûght

I’m in my mid-thirties. I’ve lived in Canada all my life (Toronto and St. John’s), but I’ve travelled to Florida, Massachusetts, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Costa Rica. I love airplane travel (as long as there are no noisy kids around me!). I’m proud to be Canadian (though Harper might end up changing that!).

I have ASD, aka Autism Spectrum Disorder. Strictly speaking, I’ve been diagnosed as having Aspergers, but (for Canada and the US, at least) that diagnosis is going to be melded with ASD as of May, with the publication of DSM V. Having ASD, and the job I do at the moment (see First Post), is why reading the blogs I mentioned above inspired me to start one of my own about my life in general.

Back in October, I got my driver’s license (as opposed to driving permit for learners) – after twenty years of effort and trying. A lot of thanks is due to my instructor, who has dealt with people with ASD before, and so knew how to teach me for the test (I was able to drive before, just not pass the test, due to anxiety and problems with multi-tasking).

I’m a fanatic writer of SF and Fantasy, both fanfiction and original, and I devour books as well.

I love animals, in particular cats, and I have a fascination with wolves, wild cats (including the big cats), orcas, and the physiology of cephalopods.

I love the wilderness – though I don’t really have the endurance (at the moment, at least) to go hiking or camping out.

And, rather importantly, I’m not someone who thinks about political correctness when it comes to vocabulary. I use what seems right when it seems right. That will include calling myself a person with ASD, or an Autistic, or an Aspie. I’m me; I can call myself what I want.

So, enough about me. Go read my posts – they’re more informative!

3 replies on “Let’s Talk About: Modes of Thought: “Blind” Mind”

I really, really think that I have this. I’ve read a discussion/forum about it somewhere (reddit? Maybe?) And i was among those saying “wait. It’s not just, like an overused figure of speach? You close your eyes and see actual things? What??” I don’t think in pictures, I think in.. the best way I can think to put it is “connotations”.

“Apple” for instance, is “sweet/tart flavor, the feel of the skin giving way to your teeth, the crunch, seeds, heh the core is poision- that’s amusing, Snow White.” Then I think “oh, yeah, those come in colors, don’t they? Am I thinking of a red or green apple?” But, I don’t actually see/taste/touch any of that, I get the “feel” (emotion? Sensory experience?) and those are the best images/thoughts/sensory data that I think translates.

I am constantly surprised at friends and family because “wow, they have brown hair,” “oh! He has freckles!” and “she has GLASSES, that’s right.” Because to me they’re “movieperson. Likes milkduds, allergic to nuts. Not in fandom, but likes similar books. Flashing of white teeth in smile, comfy sofa,” “warm afternoon sunlight, soft blanket and comfortable book and nowhere to go, bread-like yeasty smell of beer, idiotfriendperson, lactose intolerant but loves icecream anyway,” and “nerdfriend. Into fandom. Smell of an old familiar book, the loud noise that turns chaos into background hum, the look a cat gives you right after it misjuged and fell on it’s face.” There’s more, of course, and it’s multilayered until all the connotations form a personality matrix. When I think of a person- that’s what I “see.”

But if I try to visualize? Possibly the impression of movement and clouds for sheep jumping over a fence, but I can’t “see” it. I don’t know if there is grass or what color the sheep is or what kind of fence. It’s just void.

*nods in understanding*

That’s what I call “conceptual thinking” – there are some elements of that in my own thinking mode. Neat!

As I mention in my follow-up post to Imagination and Modes of Thought (the second link in the first paragraph of this post), I seem to think about 60-65% in words, and the rest is a mix of visual and conceptual thinking. I’m starting to believe that my estimates of how much is visual and how much is conceptual in that previous post are off, though; I now believe that conceptual thinking is secondary, and visual is third.

Anyway, it’s a fascinating topic!

Thanks for your comment/input!

🙂 tagÂûght

Oh, and I just thought of something else – what you describe as the multilayered personality matrix: that’s something that I use in a few of my stories as telepathic/empathic/EM-sense communication! 🙂

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