I have a psychologist friend who's into neurolinguistic programming (NLP),
and a few years ago he encouraged me to take a practitioner's course, since
I have an ongoing interest in improving my ability to communicate with other
It was a fascinating course--an "Art of Manipulation" kind of course, and
one of the major areas of study was the way in which people store and access
information. If you ask a visually oriented person to recall this morning's
breakfast, they'd likely get a picture in their mind of the table setting
and the plate with food on it. An auditory person might recall the sound of
ham frying and coffee making, and the sound of the words ham, eggs, and
toast. The kinesthetically oriented person is supposed to be the least
common. The instructor was using the word in a broader sense than I would
have. I would have thought that kinesthesia had to do solely with movement,
but the instructor used it to include sensations of touch in general, so
that you'd say a person was using kinesthetic recall when they remember the
feeling of chewing ham, and the texture of toast smeared with marmalade. I
wondered why there was no mention of olfactory recall, as smell is supposed
to be one of the most powerful elicitors of memories. Maybe it's a method of
recall that's not commonly voluntary. I myself find it difficult to
consciously recall, for example, the exact smell of newly wet pavement,
although I recognize it immediately upon smelling it.
Naturally, I turned out to be weird. Although I had no trouble with visual
or auditory recall (or projection either--I could imagine things which
didn't exist in the real world, and see and hear them in my mind), I tended
to use kinesthesia in strange ways, such as when working simple math
problems. And it's a fact, though I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, that
in adding and subtracting numbers, I count by moving my fingers. For me,
this is a simple extension of the way in which I listen to or play music, so
I have my doubts as to whether it's all that unusual. But although many
people dance to music, most people don't report doing math kinesthetically.
I guess because of my own weirdness, I was interested to read of Damien's
inability to form visual images and his reliance on kinesthesia in doing IQ
The question by which I'm obsessed today is this: how does one's method of
interfacing with the world affect (is this right, or is it supposed to be
"effect?") one's style of dreaming? My dreams are almost always in
brilliant color and include sound, smell, touch, taste--the whole works.
Sometimes I have dreams that are like movies with complex plots--some of
them take place on really interesting non-terran planets.
There is a corollary question: how does one's method of interfacing with
the world effect one's method of creating? I use creating in this context
to mean making something that didn't exist before you made it.
I wait eagerly hoping that others will be interested enough in this topic to
shed further light on it.
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