Understanding Visual-Spatial versus Audio-Sequential

I know you were hoping for an update to the bathroom saga. And I promise there will be one.  But for right now, I have something else I’d like to post about.

Remember this post?  And this one?

My brain finally clicked. Call it a eureka moment, if you will. It was a puzzle, and my brain (which loves a good puzzle) kept working at it, and reading more about it online and at the library, until my brain finally was able to understand the concept. Yeah, maybe I’m a bit slow. But give me credit for keeping at it until I understood it!!

The difference between the “thinking in words” and “thinking in pictures” is language.

The original poster was talking about adults and children who do not think using oral language.  Visual-spatial people think solely in pictures. No words. No language sounds. The picture is the language and the communication. 

Audio-sequential people think in oral language. That narrative in your head that comments on everything we say and do, translates the world we see, and organises our thoughts for us.

Some of us who think in oral language also can see pictures in our heads. The pictures (or movies) exist side-by-side with our head narrator, who translates the pictures into oral language as they appear in our heads, and organises the thoughts.

But many audio-sequential people think solely in language. No pictures. People like my hubby, who keeps looking at me as if I’ve grown a couple of heads when I talk to him about this stuff. “What are you talking about you crazy woman? There’s no pictures in my head!”

At any rate, a good friend of mine who has an adult Asperger’s daughter was a big catalyst for this brain shift. She was able to explain (better than the books I’ve read) exactly what a visual-spatial person sees and hears in their head. She mentioned the audio/visual/sensory overload as well, but the main thing that worked for me was her description of  her daughter being  unable to process language – how they had to use the photographs to communicate what would happen during the day. The photographs (the picture!!) was her language. It was just as if her mother had told her “today we’re going to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, get in the car, and go to the market.” I can imagine how frustrating it would be, if I were the one thinking of pictures, not being able to tell someone what I wanted because I could not either draw or find a picture to explain.  And conversely, not understanding why people make so many noises! She also explained that without the head narrator, it’s extremely difficult to organise all the pictures, and that Asperger’s children and adults need to learn to organise their picture-thoughts. Not all are as successful or able to do so.

This in no way means that Asperger’s people are not intelligent. Just that their brain is wired completely differently.

My brain and head narrator have now organised these thoughts, and I promise I won’t go on and on about them anymore.

My final thought is, if audio-sequential people without pictures are at one end of a brain spectrum, and visual-spatial people are at the other, then surely those of us in the middle, who can see the pictures but still organise them with our head narrator, should be able to find a way to bridge the gap?  You’d think.


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About Broot

Thoughts about learning and life that are lost in a sea of blogs.

2 responses to “Understanding Visual-Spatial versus Audio-Sequential”

  1. Jenn@ You know... that Blog? says :

    Yeah, you’d think… but it is so NICE to finally “get” some of this, isn’t it? I’d often wondered if I had some sort of issue that prevented me from learning/retaining the same way my friends did. It was always harder for me – still is – although naturally I’ve created ways to deal with it over the years (must’ve since I run 2 businesses rather well and haven’t had a nervous breakdown […yet!]). When I sing, I can actually “see” the music, line by line, as we’re moving through it. Unless you “get” it, that just sounds bizarre…

  2. Broot says :

    I see that, too, actually!! So it’s not bizarre at all, well, to me anyways!!

    Hubby thinks I’m a bit bizarre to be able to see stuff in my head. I think he’s bizarre not to. Ha.

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