Post by Jarek RzeszÃ³tko
A damn good way to spend six minutes IMO...
I was left previously trying to figure out whether "thinking using text"
was more linguistic/verbal or visual thinking, given it doesn't really
match well with either:
verbal thinking is generally described as people thinking with words and
visual thinking is generally described as pictures / colors / emotions / ...
so, one can wonder, where does text fit?...
granted, yes, there is some mode-changing as well, as not everything
seems to happen the same way all the time, and I can often "push things
around" if needed (natural language can alternate between auditory and
textual forms, ...).
I have determined though that I can't really read and also "visualize"
the story (apparently, many other people do this), as all I can really
see at the time is the text. probably because my mind is more busy
trying to buffer up the text, and the space is already used up and so
can't be used for drawing pictures (unless I use up a lot of the space
for drawing a picture, in which case there isn't much space for holding
I can also write code while also listening to someone talk, such as in a
technical YouTube video or similar, since the code and person talking
are independent (and usually relevant visuals are sparse and can be
looked at briefly). but, I can't compose an email and carry on a
conversation with someone at the same time, because they interfere (but
I can often read and carry on a conversation though, though it is more
difficult to entirely avoid "topical bleed-over").
despite thinking with lots of text, I am also not very good at math, as
I still tend to find both arithmetic and "symbolic manipulation" type
tasks as fairly painful (but, these are used heavily in math classes).
when actually working with math, in a form that I understand, it is
often more akin to wireframe graphics. for example, I can "see" the
results of a dot-product or cross-product (I can see the orthogonal
cross-bars of a cross-product, ...), and can mentally let the system
"play out" (as annotated/diagrammed 3D graphics) and alter the results
and see what happens (and the "math" is the superstructure of lines and
symbols interconnecting the objects).
yet, I can't usually do this effectively in math classes, and usually
have to resort to much less effective strategies, such as trying to
convert the problem into a C-like form, and then evaluating this
in-head, to try to get an answer. similarly, this doesn't work unless I
can figure out an algorithm for doing it, or just what sort of thing the
question is even asking for, which is itself often problematic.
another irony is that I don't really like flowcharts, as I personally
tend to see them as often a very wasteful/ineffective way of
representing many of these sorts of problems. despite both being
visually-based, my thinking is not composed of flow-charts (and I much
prefer more textual formats...).
Post by Jarek RzeszÃ³tko
Post by Julian Leviston
Isn't this simply a description of your "thought clearing process"?
You think in English... not Ruby.
I'd actually hazard a guess and say that really, you think in a
semi-verbal semi-phyiscal pattern language, and not very well
formed one, either. This is the case for most people. This is why
you have to write hard problems down... you have to bake them
into physical form so you can process them again and again,
slowly developing what you mean into a shape.
in my case I think my thinking process is a good deal different.
a lot more of my thinking tends to be a mix of visual/spatial
thinking, and thinking in terms of glyphs and text (often
source-code, and often involving glyphs and traces which I suspect
are unique to my own thoughts, but are typically laid out in the
same "character cell grid" as all of the text).
I guess it could be sort of like if text were rammed together with
glyphs and PCB traces or similar, with the lines weaving between
the characters, and sometimes into and out of the various glyphs
(many of which often resemble square boxes containing circles and
dots, sometimes with points or corners, and sometimes letters or
things may vary somewhat, depending on what I am thinking about the time.
my memory is often more like collections of images, or almost like
"pages in a book", with lots of information drawn onto them,
usually in a white-on-black color-scheme. there is typically very
little color or movement.
sometimes it may include other forms of graphics, like pictures of
things I have seen, objects I can imagine, ...
thoughts may often use natural-language as well, in a spoken-like
form, but usually this is limited either to when talking to people
or when writing something (if I am trying to think up what I am
writing, I may often hear "echoes" of various ways the thought
could be expressed, and of text as it is being written, ...).
reading often seems to bypass this (and go more directly into a
typically, thinking about programming problems seems to be more
like being in a "storm" of text flying all over the place, and
then bits of code flying together from the pieces.
if any math is involved, often any relevant structures will be
themselves depicted visually, often in geometry-like forms.
or, at least, this is what it "looks like", I really don't
actually know how it all works, or how the thoughts themselves
actually work or do what they do.
I think all this counts as some form of "visual thinking" (though
I suspect probably a non-standard form based on some stuff I have
read, given that "colors, movement, and emotions" don't really
seem to be a big part of this).
Post by Julian Leviston Post by Jarek RzeszÃ³tko
Example: I have been programming in Ruby for 7 years now, for 5
years professionally, and yet when I face a really difficult
problem the best way still turns out to be to write out a basic
outline of the overall algorithm in pseudo-code. It might be a
personal thing, but for me there are just too many irrelevant
details to keep in mind when trying to solve a complex problem
using a programming language right from the start. I cannot
think of classes, method names, arguments etc. until I get a
basic idea of how the given computation should work like on a
very high level (and with the low-level details staying
"fuzzy"). I know there are people who feel the same way, there
was an interesting essay from Paul Graham followed by a very
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