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Slow mind, but intelligent?

YoungGuns

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Is anybody else kind of slow mentally, but still have more than average comprehension and ability? I have noticed this and have also linked it to being a late bloomer in life.

When I was in first grade, I was one of the worst readers in class. By the middle to end of elementary, I was one of the best readers in the school. The same applies to other things, especially when I first started working.

I think I understand how society works and such much more than the average person and enjoy big picture concepts in general, but have serious trouble when something practical has too many variables. This is best demonstrated in me being overwhelmed by options and variables in chess and taking forever to move (and not being good at all at it, though I haven't practiced enough). It's also one of several reasons I don't bother getting too into the computer science and programming field.

I tend to always be the last done with tests, whether I done well on them or not.

As for the late bloomer thing, my life stages seem delayed. Didn't have a serious relationship (for many different reasons) until 20, didn't start drinking at all until 21, then other things... and I am just now going to school full time at 24.

(Outside of sensor tasks) I've always been the smart one around dumb people and the dumb one around smart people. I am probably 1 deviation from average.

Kinda rambly. I should sleep.


tl, dr: I am a smart person but dumb INTP
 

Hadoblado

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Yeah there's a lot of that going around.

You likely have poor cognitive control, leading to a lack of focus, but with no impairment to intelligence once you're engaged. The human brain is extremely sensitive to information even when it's not consciously processing it.
- People run faster with a clear mind than those who are tasked with running while doing simple math.
- People are slower to respond to the *known* location of an object when there is another person looking for the same object - due to the cognitive resources expended simulating the other's perception.

Essentially, your conscious and subconscious processes share the same resources, and cognitive control is the ability of your conscious mind to control the resources taken up by the subconscious. If you have poor cognitive control, you may technically have a very high intelligence, but only ever be able to bring some fraction of it to bear. That's not to say focusing will turn you into a genius or anything like that, it's unlikely learning to focus will make you smarter, but it will reduce the bottleneck from your existent process.

Meditation is very good for developing cognitive control.

It doesn't happen very often, but when I'm actually able to focus I feel like the world slows down around me. Suddenly I'm just better at everything. Things that are normally hard seem simple. My working memory feels bigger as I'm able to hold more relevant variables in mind at once.
Conversely, when my head is particularly crowded I find it difficult to string words together, or even initiate them in the first place. It's utter directionlessness.
 

Tannhauser

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Hado, I could barely read your post because of that bizarre avatar. Good post though.

But to OP, I've had similar thoughts and tendencies. But it is also hard to generalize. For example, I consider myself a very slow learner when it comes to math, but a very quick learner when it comes to computer programming (this was a consistent pattern in all classes I had in university).

Chess is interesting in that context. I remember some neuroscientist talking about how they monitored brain activity of a grandmaster playing chess. It turned out he had a very low level of activity in the brain compared to an amateur – it was like all the thinking was turned off and he was cruising on autopilot.

It always struck me how easily my co-students were able to accept various propositions in math. I never figured out whether they actually "got it", or just accepted the facts in a shallow manner. Usually, when I talked with them about how all these things actually worked, they were unable to explain it. But yet again, I don't know if that's because they had an unconscious understanding of it and just couldn't articulate what they knew, or whether they simply learned the rules of the game within the limited scope that was presented to them.
 

Minuend

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I'm retarded in some ways, smart in others. I'd say my problem is almost opposite, though. I can process and think fairly fast, but the process for taking in and putting out information is poor. If information doesn't require to go through a lot of other muddy processes, I can get things very quickly. Like if I'm shown something, I can intuitively see how it works. But if someone was to explain it to me in rods using a drawing, it would be difficult for me to imagine it plus I'd have to process what the other person says. And' I'd say I'm somewhat bad with verbal information in general. If a conversation is more than small talk about the weather and such simplistic topics, I tend to simplify what I hear into summarized versions that's partly based on guesswork on my part (to fill in the blanks that I didn't process). This leads to me misunderstanding or getting the wrong idea on occasion. When I read I tend to skip at the ending because based on the beginning I'm assuming the tone of the end. I always try to reread things when i post in threads because I know I always miss things. I think I still tend to miss things. I can sometimes just feel my mind blur out as I read, either entirely or partly.

I'm also somewhat bad at turning my thoughts into something structured that I can put out. My thoughts are an vague abstract language that needs to be translated into words, and that's not easily done accurately or effectively. I struggle to explain things if I don't know them intimately. I actually have a thought process where I think in speech and I only use it for when I imagine explaining something/ talking to someone. It is as if I developed that only so I would be better prepared to talk to people. I can have an understanding of something where I just -know- the gist and how it fits in the larger whole, but I can't explain it in a way that doesn't become erroneous or inaccurate. I'm generally very bad at details and I can feel how I struggle to hold everything in my head when I try to thinking in more detailed clarity. The vague sensation of knowing is a broken way of understanding, where I compensate for poor working memory perhaps, by cutting details and remain with a general -knowing-

I also feel that my need to process information quickly is hindered by other thought processes. The verbal/ written format is like muddy waters you have to wade through which slows things down. If it's visual information that doesn't require that kind of translation, I can process fairly quickly. If I'm doing something where everything is known and familiar to me, I can generally do and plan it fast and efficiently. I have some bottlenecks in terms of how long I can see ahead, though. Due to working memory, I guess.

So yeah, I have a lot of holes in my cognition and I can sometimes see a faint glimmer of the layer of complexity that is hidden to me. I know there are things I don't get at times, and I know it's only sometimes I know when I haven't gotten something. It kinda sucks, but I've learned to just accept my weaknesses and try to improve what is possible. When I was younger my retardation was a source of distress. Though I was also more of an dimwit back then so go figure.

As for understanding in general, I find a large chunk of that is due to interest and openness to ideas. You can be paper smart and have a poor understanding of reality due to personal traits and obsessiveness with a specific world view. Though, I guess there's probably a correlation between paper smartness and understanding smartness. If you're paper smart you're more likely to understand things in a more complex manner. There are several layers of complexity, though, so not unlikely you'll find someone who understands things more thoroughly (or maybe differently) than yourself (general you) regardless. Intelligence, understanding is more of various lines and dots scattered on a paper, rather than a line with a definitive high and definitive low. Meaning if you're this high you're definitively higher than that guy on everything. Rather it's rather complex and variable, even the individual varies its understanding throughout life.
 

silikone

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I very often have to read things twice, if not more. Either I forget what I went through after zoning out, or I had a wrong perspective that didn't make sense until I looked at it from a different angle. This can mean a lot of latency before I move on.
This can sometimes pay off, but most of the time, it's just wasting effort and time.

There was a time when I got an instruction to follow. I saw multiple ways of interpreting it, and I asked for more details to clear up this ambiguity, but this just made me look dumb as everyone else had no problem following it.
 

QuickTwist

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To mirror Minuend, I can often visualize myself making a thorough explanation of what I think but it is so hard to be patient with these things that I just end up giving a general rundown and ad lib it as best I can.
 

Intolerable

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What Hadoblado said.

It's a matter of training. I feel video games in particular are exceptionally bad at training our minds for multitasking. I am exceptional when I'm 100% focused. Regardless of what I'm doing. Throw two running conversations at me at the same time and I'm suddenly very normal.

The brain of someone who has been trained to multitask is interesting. I wouldn't say they tend to be brilliant but they are very good at turning off external stimuli that is irrelevant. Like office cube talk. They know how to turn it off when it ceases to be valuable. Whereas others will sit there distracted all day listening to it. It also seems to be easier for them to recall short term memories.
 

davidintp

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I can soo relate! I just can't multitask and hate it when there's people interrupting me or talking next to me. I have to process and take apart every conversation and there's simply not enough time in the day to do that and I can't just close my eyes at work in a silent space for 30 minutes.

This information overload is completely inhibiting my natural abilities to focus on complex problems. The only thing that works for me is complete isolation with nothing around me (I guess that's a form of meditation) or even better going hiking by myself in the mountains with no people around me.

The problem is I don't have the time to just spend hours to reflect. If anyone here has figured out a way as an intp to solve the information overload problem PLEASE let me know. This is and has always been my biggest inhibitor of success.
 

Graznel

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Hadoblado, can you tell us more about meditation since you seem to speak from experience? How much time do i need to spend to see relevant results? I am fairly good at problem-solving, but I have this issue: if I can't immediately find the way to solution, I lose most of the chances of ever solving the given problem. I just spend all my energy trying to direct my focus to it and end up mentally tired because of a problem that I could have solved if I stayed tuned for a handful of seconds more. If you don't care to elaborate can you just point me to the right link, because I don't feel like putting up with all kinds of mysterious bull@@@@. I just have a feeling that I've never used more than 40% of my analytical power and I wonder if there is someone who got over such a barrier and how.
 

Hadoblado

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I'm really fkn bad at meditating. There are plenty of people here who could relate their experience more fruitfully. I was repeating what I'd read on the topic during my studies, as in, "studies show that...".

Abstract
Recent studies show that a single bout of meditation can impact information processing. We were interested to see whether this impact extends to attentional focusing and the top-down control over irrelevant information. Healthy adults underwent brief single bouts of either focused attention meditation (FAM), which is assumed to increase top-down control, or open monitoring meditation (OMM), which is assumed to weaken top-down control, before performing a global–local task. While the size of the global-precedence effect (reflecting attentional focusing) was unaffected by type of meditation, the congruency effect (indicating the failure to suppress task-irrelevant information) was considerably larger after OMM than after FAM. Our findings suggest that engaging in particular kinds of meditation creates particular cognitive-control states that bias the individual processing style toward either goal-persistence or cognitive flexibility.

I cherry picked this off a search engine so pinch your salt- but overall the vast majority of the research literature indicates that meditation kicks ass in all sorts of ways. I'm personally pretty casual about it, but think that might be a mistake on my part. I meditate on the bus, and as I go to bed. Since I've started, my life has improved a lot, but it's difficult to delineate causality since I also made a whole bunch of other changes at that time.

I doubt it's an issue of staying focused a few seconds more. It sounds like you have difficulty with switching perceptual set. Once you reach a road block with a problem, if you leave it and come back you'll have a better chance of finding the solution. The more you focus on the one means of solving the problem, the more you wire yourself to think only in that paradigm, which will then out-compete alternatives including potentially the solution. Creativity is about having the flexibility to switch tracks.

It's unlikely anything to do with analytical power - when people make claims about untapped potential, these are almost by definition assumptions without evidence. If it's untapped then they've never observed it. That's not to say that you can't improve function, just that putting a number like 40% on it seems silly, and speaks more of unfulfilled expectations than it does actual potential.
 

Intolerable

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I'm really fkn bad at meditating. There are plenty of people here who could relate their experience more fruitfully. I was repeating what I'd read on the topic during my studies, as in, "studies show that...".

I cherry picked this off a search engine so pinch your salt- but overall the vast majority of the research literature indicates that meditation kicks ass in all sorts of ways. I'm personally pretty casual about it, but think that might be a mistake on my part. I meditate on the bus, and as I go to bed. Since I've started, my life has improved a lot, but it's difficult to delineate causality since I also made a whole bunch of other changes at that time.

Heh, it's like exercising your pelvic floor. Sounds easy enough but not so easy.

I doubt it's an issue of staying focused a few seconds more. It sounds like you have difficulty with switching perceptual set. Once you reach a road block with a problem, if you leave it and come back you'll have a better chance of finding the solution. The more you focus on the one means of solving the problem, the more you wire yourself to think only in that paradigm, which will then out-compete alternatives including potentially the solution. Creativity is about having the flexibility to switch tracks.

It's unlikely anything to do with analytical power - when people make claims about untapped potential, these are almost by definition assumptions without evidence. If it's untapped then they've never observed it. That's not to say that you can't improve function, just that putting a number like 40% on it seems silly, and speaks more of unfulfilled expectations than it does actual potential.


Well in defense of being analytical it really depends on how focused you are. If your environment is distracting it's difficult to say you ever reached 100% focus. But I can attest to having complete isolation and being someone who can write 5 thousand lines of code in a day. It's said being in the zone and I concur with that. When all parameters align and you just can't go wrong. It's like getting over writer's block.

In defense of what you're saying sometimes stepping away allows us to get rid of a distraction. Like having the boss pestering the crap out of us it's just easier to get him out of the way and return to what we're doing instead of dealing with him standing over us. That's just one example. Maybe a slice of your intellectual processing is being spent on daydreaming about your afternoon walk or watching a TV program. So getting the walk out of the way or watching the show immediately can return some of that intellectual resource.

I do know for sure that lingering thoughts are expensive. If I wake up and start work with a lot of concerns running through my head I already know my day is going to be unproductive.
 

Hadoblado

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If you're focused then you've already found the right set. No need to reroll. ;)
 

Graznel

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I know i tried to quantify something I could not define, but I admitted it was a "kind of feeling". I could use another number like the ratio between times spent thinking on and off topic but even the sense of time is unreliable in thinking mode, so the feeling is all I have.

When i read about the switching routes thing I realised that it indeed was right on the spot for the case I had in mind (despite me using to take pride in my mental flexibility though). I have no idea how to prevent such a flaw from manifesting itself when there's that information that one takes for granted and as a starting point... The tendency is to search for a mistake somewhere further along the chain of deduction.

I knew that meditation was scientifically proven to improve one's mind, but I imagined its effect as minuscule versus the amount of time and discipline needed. Thanks to your suggestion I will replace sleeping at courses with meditating ))).
 
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