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Re: OT: What is your qualia of consciousness / thought? (WAS: does conlanging change your sense of reality?)

From:Sai Emrys <saizai@...>
Date:Saturday, April 4, 2009, 6:00
On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 11:57 AM, Amanda Babcock Furrow
<langs@...> wrote:
> Sometimes when I'm tired I receive very slow (and strange) non-verbal > thoughts which I believe are coming from my right brain when it tries > to do left-brain things. > It seems very pleased when it works out in a > minute something that my left brain, if it were engaged, would get in > a second or two.
"Receive" and "it" is an oddly extrinsic way of framing it. Intentional? Explain the last part re. pleased?
>  (Reading "My Stroke of Insight" has reinforced my > interpretation that this is what is going on.)
FWIW: I've not read it, but I've seen a TED talk of this name. While it was nicely inspirational, it was horrible on its neuroscience at least compared to what I learned in my neuro classes... :-/ So I'd suggest taking any factual claims with a healthy handful of salt. The more metaphysical stuff is nonempirical so *shrug* on those bits.
> I used to be able to maintain a verbal input stream (reading a book)
That's not verbal unless you subvocalize when reading. (I.e. you read text in a quasi-audio way, like reading it out loud in your head, rather than directly.) Do you?
> Thanks for an interesting question, Sai!
Glad it was interesting to people other than me. ;-) On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 12:23 PM, Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...> wrote:
> I've asked several friends about this recently. Mostly they > report that theyperceive their thoughts to be a mix, sometimes a verbal > monologue and sometimes visual or otherwise nonverbal.
To me, this is obvious - nobody I know of is really unimodal (or uni-anything; "queer theory" and all that jazz). The question is proportion and context. E.g. I have verbal thought when rehearsing speech (eg practicing something to say or modeling how an interaction may go), making explicit lists (eg stuff I need to do or remember), and composing for others (like this), but otherwise am primarily abstract. What languages people think in is of secondary importance to me (except in the case of signed languages, as that's a different mode), but definitely interesting re fluency.
> A possibly unusual feature of > my inner monologue (or dialogue?) is that it sometimes has > actual dialogue tags, e.g. "he said", "he asked"...
Do you get these tags for your own innerly quoted speech? I would only use them in the same sense as I would use them when speaking to someone else, i.e. reported speech. Not as used in novels.
> There is also musical thought, which seems to be useful > only for composing music, as far as I can tell.
Is this *thought* per se or merely audio-specific *modeling*? I make a distinction between modeling (where you rehearse various sensory stimuli to figure out how they'll be) and thinking (where you can do conscious-type stuff like figure out what you want to do to change the world or something). I at least can't conceive of a way to do the latter in music; if you can, I'd like to know more.
> Most of us counted verbally, > but IIRC the ones who counted textually, visualising arabic numerals, > counted faster.
This reminds me of something I read recently - in Gladwell's _Outliers_ - about how supposedly Chinese speakers can memorize more numbers because they're faster to say than English ones are. (He was presuming, of course, that it's using an auditory rehearsal loop...) On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 1:41 PM, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:
> On meditation-type techniques, sometimes when I go to bed my mind is still > racing...I've tried repeating the Om mani padme om, but find that counting > breaths (inhalations) works best at helping to divert the inner monologue.
I suggest you try a couple all-point techniques (see my pdf) as well. Another that you may find nice is breathing *to* a count (e.g. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 in 1 2 hold 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 out 1 2 hold, repeat; increase #s with practice to like 15-3-20-3). IME it's better to just know several and how you respond to them. On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 3:16 PM, And Rosta <and.rosta@...> wrote:
> My social, creative, intellectual and professional lives are all completely > founded on verbality. But the idea of ordinary thought being verbal is so > utterly alien to my own experience that I have always supposed others' > reports of their ordinary thought being verbal to be naive delusions. Now > that I've read others' contributions to this thread, I no longer think that, > but I am entirely perplexed.
I had this too. In fact, AFAICT 10 years ago or so I had *no* verbalistic thought other than really rare explicit rehearsal for production. When I first started thinking more verbalistically, I found it very disturbing, intrusive, and fairly unpleasant, as it was, well, noisy and slow and crude compared to my default. Since then I've gotten a bit more used to it, but still prefer the abstract mode for internal use except when explicitly indicated otherwise. And yeah, even having thought about this for a while, I find it very very hard to wrap my mind around this question. Trying to figure out - let alone model - whether others have a fundamentally different mode of thought than you do is indeed a deeply weird and alien thing. (Which, of course, is why I find it worth doing research on. :-P) On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 4:26 PM, Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...> wrote:
> I suppose we are constructed differently inside and outside all of us. There > are visual and auditive people, and there are verbal and non-verbal > thinkers. Possibly, those phenomena are related.
Interesting point; that seems obvious but I hadn't thought of it. I wonder if there *is* correlation between the qualia and performance on various modal IQ tests. It seems like it'd be fairly hard to test though, given the problem of priming people accidentally... - Sai


Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>