how do you think?


Apparently it’s not common knowledge that we don’t all think in the same way. Some of us think in pictures, some of us in words, and most of us use a variable combination of the two depending on what we’re thinking about. So, some of us can think of abstract concepts without doodling a picture in our head. An example of this might be, I don’t know, an all-powerful creator that exists behind the celestial curtain. There’s nothing to visually guess about such a being, so those of us who think in words to some degree, are probably happy not making up a picture in our heads to accompany the notion.

For any of you shocked by this information, or for any of you who might think I’m making it up, here’s a quote from Wikipedia to make it all sound more serious:

Visual thinking is the phenomenon of thinking through visual processing.[1]Β Visual thinking has been described as seeing words as a series of pictures.[citation needed]Β Visual thinking is common in approximately 60%–65% of the general population.[1]

Visual thinking contributes to everyday activities such as driving, flying, navigating, playing chess, catching a ball, calculating speed trajectory time, and even subtle changes to one’s everyday language.[citation needed]

“Real picture thinkers”, those persons who use visual thinking almost to the exclusion of other kinds of thinking, make up a smaller percentage of the population. Research by child development theorist Linda Kreger Silverman suggests that less than 30% of the population strongly uses visual/spatial thinking, another 45% uses both visual/spatial thinking and thinking in the form of words, and 25% thinks exclusively in words. According to Kreger Silverman, of the 30% of the general population who use visual/spatial thinking, only a small percentage would use this style over and above all other forms of thinking, and can be said to be ‘true’ “picture thinkers”.

So, the burning question, readers, is how do you think? And have you ever noticed how difficult it is to communicate with someone who thinks in a different manner from you? All anecdotes invited.