The kicker though, for me at least, is this: how many social conventions are built around an idea of how people commonly think - which in many cases is largely wrong?

For instance, using name tags at a social gathering will earn you my everlasting gratitude, especially if they would not normally be expected. So will encouraging people to look at them, and designing so that they remain visible at all times (large type helps).

There is a special spot reserved midway between Heaven and Hell (actually not, but you get the idea) for people who have the bright ide... (read more)

There is a special spot reserved midway between Heaven and Hell (actually not, but you get the idea) for people who have the bright idea of providing name tags, then screw it up by printing them only on one side and putting them on lanyards where (in accordance with Murphy's Law) they systematically end up chestwards.

Our badges at work are like this[1], and unfortunately, it has implications beyond not remembering names -- that makes it easy for an unauthorized person to go through the facility unchallenged by having the (uninformative, easily-faked) b... (read more)

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.