I construct (vague) imagery of dynamic simulation/tangible flavor (similar to remembered perception of simplified/idealized physical systems and of interaction with them, sometimes without relevant spatial component, as a collection of a few related objects). This gives more explicitly accessible mental models of ideas (such as examples of standard mathematical structures, situations arising in specific problems, designs of pieces of software, etc.) that can be inspected/developed/debugged in a directed fashion (constructing a novel model together with actions that allow manipulating it can take hours, mostly because enough details/skills have to be committed to long term memory for the whole thing to work, attention is too small; more familiar things can be reconstructed in the focus of attention in about a minute or so).

Sometimes repeating a word or two a few times in a loop helps to force focus on a topic/construction. I never use internal monologue (it doesn't seem to do anything helpful), but writing down half-formed thoughts can help with organizing them (I guess mostly by lifting short term memory limitations).

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More "Stupid" Questions

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read31st Jul 2013498 comments


This is a thread where people can ask questions that they would ordinarily feel embarrassed for not knowing the answer to. The previous "stupid" questions thread went to over 800 comments in two and a half weeks, so I think it's time for a new one.