# Thread: How do you think?

1. And how does it relate to your skill set?

I would like to be directed to where I could learn more about the question of how others thing if anyone knows where; I have access to journal publications (being a college student) so these would be especially interesting.

The comment of another poster (Ellatha) with whom I had an im discussion intrigued me.
-I'm quoting him here with his permission after slight revisions (removing all the "[name]:").

Now, to elaborate on the question.
When I think, I think purely in words.
Ellatha evidently thinks with colors.

We discussed a few sample problems and our mental approaches. For example:
" While helping a cousin with a math problem the other day, a question asked to find the area of a two-dimensional donut. I pictured a brown circle with a similar, smaller circle missing in the middle, and I knew instantly to find the area of the large circle and subtract the area of the smaller circle."

I, on the other hand, recall the knowledge that to calculate the area of a 2d object with a chunk missing one must simply calculate the area of missing chunk and the other, and then find the difference.

From our discussion, his conclusion to difference in approaches was:
Well, yours seems reasoned, whereas mine seems observed (via visualization).

Another problem, this time more complicated so more thought processes are involved:
A 6 g bullet traveling at a speed of 300 m/s passes through a stationary wooden block of mass 2 kg and exits it. The block was attached to a 2 m massless string. After the bullet exits the hanging block it swings until the string is at a maximum angle of 5 degrees from the vertical. What is the exit velocity of the bullet?

Please consider how you would approach the problem (no need to actually do the math), and note how it is that you think about it in order to determine what is to be done.
Ellatha's explanation of his thought process:
"Well, velocity is yellow, so I see a yellow background in motion, with a rapidly changing frame of reference, when the yellow hits a brown background, small portions of the yellow background go through the brown, causing it to sway back and forth.
That is what I think of while reading the problem.

...

I have an overall understanding of everything that is going on.
I don't think step by step; I visualize it happening, in colors, than I'm able to extrapolate the necessary steps to solve the problem without specifically naming them but doing them as I go along."

I on the other hand read what is going on-in words-and make sure I understand the concepts of what is going on. The impact transfers momentum, so I can calculate momentum transferred. To find out how much momentum the block was given, I can calculate the height difference using the angle. With this I can calculate potential energy; using the kinetic energy formula I can then calculate velocity, to determine the block's momentum, and subtract it from the bullet's initial momentum to find the final momentum, and thus final velocity of the bullet.
I think about it in words, in a manner similar (but divided more into the steps, and at a pace much slower than at which any of you read the above) to what I just wrote-I "hear" the words as I think, and do not visualize the situation.

How do the thought processes of others differ as they try to understand such problems?

What about different types of problems? Rather than math or physics, entirely different types of questions?
Perhaps someone could come up with a good question in another category that would lead to incite into how we think.

While I am obviously interested in how I think myself, I'm also very interested in understanding others, how they process things, how they think and reach the conclusions they do.
Putting myself into others shoes is something that interests me.

EDIT:
Perhaps this can provide value; a quote from the wikipedia page for Temple Grandin (an autistic woman):
Grandin compares her memory to full-length movies in her head that can be replayed at will, allowing her to notice small details. She is also able to view her memories using slightly different contexts by changing the positions of the lighting and shadows.
I possess no ability of this sort. As she is autistic this could easily explain the difference. However, Ellatha noted his ability to produce videos in his thoughts, and even slow them down to get a better understanding of them.
This is not the case with me; my memory of videos is basically just a list of the events that took place. A list of the actions, movements, etc.
I can imagine individual movements/actions for the purpose of confirming an understanding of the movement, but this seems to be a relatively very limited application.

2. ### Related Discussions:

3. I think in thoughts. I have no idea how could anything else work. Of course you have to use words if you want to tell someone else, but how could you think using words? How could you solve a physics problem using words?

4. What is a thought?

5. Originally Posted by Twit of wit
I think in thoughts. I have no idea how could anything else work. Of course you have to use words if you want to tell someone else, but how could you think using words? How could you solve a physics problem using words?
I do not know what goes on in my subconscious, but the only thing I am consciously aware of is words.
Academically my strengths are also in math and science. I am terrible at art and English type subjects.

Ophiolite,
I think I need to come up with a definition of what I mean by thought here.

Perhaps what we are consciously aware of as we work out problems, or try to come to conclusions about issues, or come up with ideas?

Basically how I think is by relating the things I am thinking with the things that are around me.

Like if I have to analyse a problem in which two objects collide with each other, then i just see a calendar in from of me and then think "Date one is going toward 29 and 29 towards 1, they are 5 block away from each other and they collided in block of no. 15"

7. Originally Posted by C.Elrod
Ophiolite,
I think I need to come up with a definition of what I mean by thought here.
My query was directed more at Twit but by all means definitions from all participants would be valuable. Twit's observations were at odds with my experience and my understanding of the experience of others. While much of my thinking is visual and conceptual - matching what Twit seems to think of as a thought - I also think extensively in words, olding detailed conversations and monologues as I work through an idea.

8. Originally Posted by Twit of wit
I think in thoughts. I have no idea how could anything else work. Of course you have to use words if you want to tell someone else, but how could you think using words? How could you solve a physics problem using words?
I partially think in pictures, and has great difficulties converting pictures to worded thoughts.

9. Originally Posted by vilyanurchandra

Basically how I think is by relating the things I am thinking with the things that are around me.

Like if I have to analyse a problem in which two objects collide with each other, then i just see a calendar in from of me and then think "Date one is going toward 29 and 29 towards 1, they are 5 block away from each other and they collided in block of no. 15"
That sounds quite unusual.
Could you elaborate a little more?
Perhaps explain how you go about problem solving?

Originally Posted by Ophiolite
Originally Posted by C.Elrod
Ophiolite,
I think I need to come up with a definition of what I mean by thought here.
My query was directed more at Twit but by all means definitions from all participants would be valuable. Twit's observations were at odds with my experience and my understanding of the experience of others. While much of my thinking is visual and conceptual - matching what Twit seems to think of as a thought
Okay.

It seems interesting to me that most people have visual thinking-I feel a little limited, as it seems like it would be interesting to do, and useful for some problems.
What do you mean by conceptual?
Words seem like they'd be a good way to deal with concepts, which are generally related to having an understanding. When dealing with information that is structured (one thing means or causes another) words seem like a natural way to solve it?

Originally Posted by Ophiolite
I also think extensively in words, olding detailed conversations and monologues as I work through an idea.
That is a good summary of how I think in general.

10. I think in words too.. I'm not the smartest kid in my class but I used to just drift by reading words as just them words.. and then attaching meaning to them instinctively from learned teachings from the past... so it takes a while to process the entire line of text that I read after reading it.. I just really drifted by life without thinking much.. just taking things as is.. but then as I grew old.. I'm in my late twenties now and I think by age 25 (i was really late..) i started to think more.. my thoughts now are more of still in words.. but now I question those words too.. what i mean is.. my analysis comes first. This analysis part of the mind is i think the more primitive nature of my brain working, where there are no words.. words is something that people created to label things in life.. so basically i think they're just standards, similar to the concept of the USB ports where everyone had to conform to them in order to make peripherals of computers. So everything to me is an event, an object, and then it gets it's name, like for movement.. you say it moves, or rolls, etc.. I was thinking also that maybe there's another way of communicating instead of using words.. as it seemed to be the adapted way of doing things and eventually influenced our thinking into using words as mediums for everything we do, thoughts, actions, speeches, etc... The mind for me too is really mind boggling... I tweak my mind to adapt to the situation at hand..
But then there is the emotional side of my mind.. this is irrational and I think this deals mainly when I date girls.. since I'm using most of my feelings rather than rational thought in the process.. but I can't fully use it like other people who are extroverts.. who I admire in their mastery of expressing their feelings.. So even in my emotional state I'm still using my reasoning and logical mind in talking and going through things, which is why I think my dates think they're always talking to a science teacher whenever we have dinners.. so well.. just my two cents..

11. My hope is that one of these days all of those self-proclaimed smartest kids in the class will discover the utility of the carriage return. Oh... Whoops. That's not how I think, but what I think. My bad. Carry on.

12. I'm not sure if I am stating the obvious, but here is how my thought processes work.

When I try to rationalize, I do it in "words" (vocal conversations with myself) in my head.

When i try to solve a mathematical problem, I visualize the numbers in my head and add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc. them in my head just as I would on a piece of paper.

When I try to figure out how to best put something together (for example) before I actually "do it", I visualize myself acting out the movements in my mind.

When I try to sculpt something, I do it in two parts. First, by visualizing the "finished product" in my mind, and allow my hands to do the work while exploring the material visually and through my tactile senses. Second, by not having a "finished product" visualized in my mind, and work purely through my tactile senses, and having it complimented by my visual senses.

13. Originally Posted by Twit of wit
I think in thoughts. I have no idea how could anything else work. Of course you have to use words if you want to tell someone else, but how could you think using words? How could you solve a physics problem using words?
I agree too.. in math I don't think in words.. more of visual.. or I think common sense.. Like the example one of the repliers posted was about the train.. if one train moves from point A to another train moving from point B when will they collide and at what speed etc.. I use common sense for that and visualize/role-play the entire thing in my head.. Sort of imagine at what usual speed a train would go and at what time they should be colliding or meeting.. etc.. But then there is also the mathematical way to go through it.. so sometimes I use formulas learned in class.. and that supports my solution too.. But I'm having trouble reaching that part of my mind at the moment because that was at school where I didn't have to worry about anything besides doing well in grades.. now I have to remember the chores I have to do when I go home.. bill payments and everything that needs to be done around my life to survive.. that gets in the way of my freedom to think nowadays.. As I think everything is on the run in my life now.. and work just never stops..

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