I like to daydream. I have a bunch of different daydreams, and they function sort of like a screen saver for my brain. If I'm not doing anything mentally taxing, I turn on one and tune the world out. I can still remember as a child imagining all my stuffed animals as a council, sitting in a circle and doing something. Most involve a faceless, nameless protagonist who has some sort of magical powers. There are almost never meaningful relationships, and never names, in these daydreams. It's kinda creeps me out, what this fact says about me. These daydreams

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There's a thread running through Methods of Rationality on the implications of patterning your developmental schema on the coming-of-age narrative typical of epic fantasy. (Haven't been able to isolate any specific examples there, but similar topics come up in "Formative Youth".) I'm pretty sure that sort of thing is very common among members of our particular tribe, and it's a topic that I'd love to see explored in more detail; unfortunately, no one I know of has ever approached it in depth, let alone with much rigor.

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3vali8yOftentimes, if I need to fall asleep I'll pick a really peaceful one. When I was younger, I had one where I was a full sized person in a world made entirely of legos, including tiny living lego people. I'd fall asleep, dreaming of building secret tunnels under the ocean, vast cities with towers a mile high, train tracks for the lego people that climbed mountains that rose above breathable atmosphere to reach secret veins of special legos. It was only during the day that floods, earthquakes and rival lego people threatened. On a related note, I have such awesome ideas for a Minecraft mod.

How is your mind different from everyone else's?

by Kaj_Sotala 1 min read5th Dec 2011267 comments


Partially to help reduce the typical mind fallacy and partially because I'm curious, I'm thinking about writing either an essay or a book with plenty of examples about ways by which human minds differ. From commonly known and ordinary, like differences in sexual orientation, to the rare and seemingly impossible, like motion blindness.

To do this, I need to start collecting examples. In what ways does your mind differ from what you think is the norm for most people?

I'm particularly interested in differences - small or large - that you didn't realize for a long time, automatically assuming that everyone was like you in that regard. It can even be something as trivial as always having conceptualized the passing of years as a visual timeline, and then finding out that not everyone does so. I'm also interested in links to blog posts where people talk about their own mental peculiarities, even if you didn't write them yourself. Also books and academic articles that you might think could be relevant.

Some of the content that I'm thinking about including are cultural differences in various things as recounted in the WEIRD article, differences in sexual and romantic orientation (such as mono/poly), differences in the ability to recover from setbacks, extroversion vs. introversion in terms of gaining/losing energy from social activity, differences in visualization ability, various cognitive differences ranging from autism to synesthesia to an inability to hear music in particular, differences in moral intuitions, differences in the way people think (visual vs. verbal vs. conceptual vs. something that I'm not aware of yet), differences in thinking styles (social/rational, reflectivity vs. impulsiveness) and various odd brain damage cases.

If you find this project interesting, consider spreading the link to this post or resharing my Google Plus update about it. Also, if you don't want to reply in public, feel free to send me a private message.