Perhaps it is because you are trying to do something which you do not consider an action (Is there a sequence post about this? I seem to remember reading something...). Rather than trying to "open up a new bank account" why not try to get in your car, drive to the bank, get out of your car, etc.

I often have the experience of feeling completely unable to do something but I can always break it down into concrete actions and then do those instead.

For example, sometimes I need to write a paper for school but feel it is impossible. So, instead I open ... (read more)

Rather than trying to "open up a new bank account" why not try to get in your car, drive to the bank, get out of your car, etc. [...] I think this experience of feeling completely unable to do an abstract task is virtually universal for humans.

What you described is a very normal response to reducing the difficulty of a task in order to reduce the anxiety response to said task to manageable levels. It is, however, unhelpful to autists who only know the global task. If you ever work with an autistic child, it would help you to be aware that su... (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.