I have 5 distinct experiences of vision. They are each qualitatively very different.

  • Seeing - When my eyes are open, I see the world around me. I believe this is the standard sense "vision".
  • Static - When my eyes are closed, my visual field is mostly colored static, not very bright. Like static on old TVs, but definitely colored.
  • Eddies and Afterimage - I can create extremely limited pictures out of Static, nothing more complex than the union of a few very simple shapes. Blobs or occasionally lines.
  • Mental Imagery - Bright images as distinct as
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Your descriptions of 'static' and 'eddies and afterimage' match my younger experiences, and I just realized that I no longer have these visual phenomena. I used to see them as vivid blue and red dots when I closed my eyes.

2[anonymous]8y"Static" might be visual snow [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_snow]. I have it, and in my case it's probably due to lots of staring at computer monitors over the years.

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.