I have abnormally good memory in some respects. Dates, time-passed-since, and sources are hard to remember, but stories, phrases, quotes, noteworthy or unexpected events, and some portions of conversations are accessible word-for-word years later - an example would be telling an amusing story to a friend who'd been the original source of the story, and using the same words they did to describe it to me years ago, which more than a little unsettled them.

As far as I can tell I have no feeling of this kind of memory as opposed to any other; it all feels const... (read more)

If I may ask: how old are you?

I used to have the same ability (and am still well above average) but it's lessened over the past 3 years or so. I've been trying to work out whether it's due to a) age (greater number of life experiences and/or memory naturally less good), b) studies (prioritising studied material over episodic memory), c) greater socialisation (I used to be fairly isolated, so it's possible that there were just fewer noteworthy things to remember), d) some other factor.

And relatedly: do you also have that sense of frustration when people kee... (read more)

2[anonymous]8yThat reminds me; while I tend to remember techniques and equations easily enough, my software has a bug where people with similar occupations and similar initials are easily confused with one another, even if they look very different from one another. I think the classic example was the time I mistook Britney Spears for Beyonce.

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.