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.

Might just be another hold... (read more)

patterning your developmental schema on the coming-of-age narrative typical of epic fantasy.

I don't think I do that, there was never any doubt in my mind that it was just a story (eg. at several points over the years I've gotten bored of 'me' but not of the universe I've spent hours creating, and started following another character instead. Or introduced long timeskips so I don't have to narrate boring but necessary-to-my-current-plot events).

I'd say that if anything, I absorbed less from all the fantasy and sci fi tropes I read as a kid and teenager than most people. It never occurred to me as a kid that I should be modelling any part of my behaviour after the people in books.

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.