Sometimes I have a visual experience that is very hard to describe. It happens when a person is talking to me and I've been looking at them without interruption for several minutes. (Maybe they need to be looking at me too; I can't remember.)

What happens is that the person starts to seem very close to me and very small, as though I had my face pressed up to the window of a dollhouse and they were inside it. This is not exactly what it is like, but it's the closest I can come to putting it into words.

If I look away, the effect stops, but it easily starts... (read more)

I'm not sure if I experience the same thing, but it sounds similar.

It sometimes happens with peoples faces, more often with my laptop screen when I've been staring at it for a while. It is impossible to put into words... sort of like my sense of size becomes meaningless. Depth perception vanishes. Sometimes things seem very small, or very large, but that is not quite it. It is more like my brain doesn't know how to parse anything related to absolute size.

Sometimes when I'm trying to fall asleep, I'll experience it with very high intensity. Normally when ... (read more)

1Crux8ySomething similar happens to me. If I'm talking to somebody and staring them right in the eyes for more than like 90 seconds, my whole visual field seems to go totally haywire and I start seeing multiple, partial images of their face stacked on top of each other, rotated randomly, and bleeding into each other. It's of course very difficult to explain what it looks like because of how unfamiliar the patterns are (and thus how hard it would be to remember them in high enough detail to draw or whatever), so a real explanation will most likely have to wait until there's technology available to simply scan my visual field onto a monitor, but it's something like what I wrote above. Anyway, this only happens when I'm so intent on staring them down with absolutely no interruptions for so long that I end up totally overriding my natural inclination to dart my eyes around in the specific pattern designed to scan the room and form a good representation, so it seems like this phenomenon is simply the chaotic result of overriding the preset updating system for vision.

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.