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Autopilot / Not All There

EyeSeeCold

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Sometimes I realize that I've just come out of autopilot mode and wasn't really fully conscious of what I was doing. Lately I've been more aware of this and can recall several situations.

It happens when I'm getting ready in the morning for classes, I follow a natural routine and if I ever happen to deviate from the routine(like waking up early) I'll forget something because my mind is usually on autopilot instead of actively engaging the environment, and I won't realize this until I've already left. It also happens when I order something at a restaurant, I go in with something in mind that I want, and don't consciously engage but just automatically verbalize my order. I even said the wrong order a few times and again didn't realize until I already left. Sometimes I don't even notice people leaving or returning. It's as if I'm not all there, and am mentally somewhere else.

This describes me perfectly:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absent-minded_professor
Absent-mindedness is where a person shows inattentive or forgetful behaviour.[1] It can have three different causes:
  • a low level of attention ("blanking" or "zoning out")
  • intense attention to a single object of focus (hyperfocus) that makes a person oblivious to events around him or her; or
  • unwarranted distraction of attention from the object of focus by irrelevant thoughts or environmental events.[2]

and this arcticle seems relevant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperfocus .


Does this sound familiar or am I the only one? :confused:


Also, could there be evolutionary advantages to this phenomenon?
 

Vrecknidj

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This accurately describes certain aspects of my life (such as my morning routine). I rely fairly heavily on auto-pilot at various times of day, at various times of the week, and at various times of the year. Sometimes, I have to mentally attend to other things and I need to be able to rely on auto-pilot.

And, yes, when that gets disrupted, all kinds of weird things happen to me.

Dave
 

Felan

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Fits me as well.

I've been driving and been on autopilot and missed my exit or parked at the wrong resturant.

The ordering food thing I've done a lot of as well. Thought about what I wanted that was different and then strangely order the usual thing. I've even thought about trying a different resturant and then found myself at one I more commonly visit.

My friends tease me about it sometimes but that's okay and confess I am often on auto-pilot. I'd rather have it and be free to think then have to pay attention all the time.
 

Dapper Dan

Did zat sting?
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Yep, this happens pretty frequently. The most common occurrence involves me absent-mindedly driving part of the way home before realizing that's not where I need to go.
 

EyeSeeCold

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The worst time it happened for me was the end of highschool, my mind was on autopilot and I lost a chance to say goodbye to some good friends I never saw again.

And, yes, when that gets disrupted, all kinds of weird things happen to me.
Dave
Yea, a few times while riding the city bus and I ended up in some unknown location.


It seems like absent-mindedness allows routines to be performed without much stress. I notice Extraverted people who aren't so keen on routines are more impulsive and can't handle doing repetitive tasks, even though some are necessary for survival as in cooking or cleaning(or less necessary as in passing levels/training skills in videogames :p).
 

walfin

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I've walked into a subway train a few times when I was supposed to be waiting for someone on the platform.

Autopilot is like autocorrect; often necessary, but also annoying.
 

Dimensional Transition

Bill Cosbor, conqueror of universes
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I even have coversations on auto-pilot really often.

I'll answer a shitload of questions, and only later realize I didn't really think about them. Hell, sometimes I even ask questions automatically. Like "But why?" "Aha. And how did that happen?"
 

Capital T

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Absentmindedness seems incredibly common in I_T_ types (introverted thinkers). You are not alone. I used to be very absentminded, but participating in activities in which this was dangerous/very counterproductive (i.e. Motorsports, flying, competition shooting) forced me to train myself to focus beyond my absentmindedness. When just milling about I do still tend to be absentminded.
 

Krowe

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I notice this very, very often while I'm in the shower. It happens whenever something more important is on my mind. Usually, I can recall what has happened in the minute or so that I was on 'auto-pilot'. I also have the same thing happen while I'm at school where I go to my next class before even remembering what class is next. Though, this is sometimes messed with when I start in a different location, such as the library instead of the cafeteria.
 

Words

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I think it's an Si thing, perhaps Ti as well. It's a default, unchanging, robotic, repetitive pattern. kind of like how you have axioms in math, or the shortcuts you do in programming. It's foundational. Going through the universal truths that are already discovered. Unless there are any Ni doms out there who relate heavily as well...?
 

crippli

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The 3 stages of general learning:


1. Cognitive Phase: Theoretical and practical learning.
2.
Associative Phase: The refinement of skills acquired in the cognitive phase. This phase can last for a very long time.
3. Autonomous Phase: This phase takes years to reach and is when the person automatically reacts correctly to a situation without having to pay a great deal of attention to it.


Assuming this is accurate. It seems you are operating in the autonomous phase. So the problem is that you believe you are in phase 3, when you are in phase 1 or 2, and hence the errors you have experienced.

 

ObliviousGenius

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My autopilot comes on constantly especially when I'm driving. I can also watch tv or even read and not know what I saw or read.

Hyperfocus is the main issue for me though. If I am in class, driving, sitting for an extended period, or just bored (which is most of the time) I will start to daydream about all kinds of stuff. I started researching asperger's syndrome recently and I think I have it although I haven't talked to a psychiatrist yet. I'm still trying to figure if all these autism spectrum symptons are just me being an INTP, having AS, being a very typical genius teenager, or all of the above.
 

Cosmic

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i nearly missed one of my final exams because i missed three, yes three, exits/turns on the way and ended up getting lost as a result. got there thirty minutes late and ended up making the professor stay there later than he would've otherwise. he was a good sport about it though, much more than i could've asked for. granted, i hadn't slept for fifty hours prior to this absent-minded shenanigan
 

RaBind

sparta? THIS IS MADNESS!!!
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Yea, I would think this is really common. I do this every time I go to work, if I don't every minute turns into an hour of endless torture.
It used to be very frequent and automatic when I was younger. In high school I used to stare in to empty space and drift away into thoughts in class, I still do this but only when I am not doing anything, like waiting for class to start.

I think one of the most common one is when your reading a book, you keep reading it, then you realize your not actually picking up the words and thinking about what the book is actually describing.

I trained to turn off this function for my English exam, at my last year in high school. I used to go on walks and really notice everything that was around me, look and be aware of the trees, grass, water, sky... any environmental stimuli really. I went into the exam and wrote like crazy, I think I would have wasted a lot more time just thinking if I hadn't trained to turn this function off or at least make it less effective. (I write quite slowly so this was necessary for me)
 

ObliviousGenius

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Yea, I would think this is really common. I do this every time I go to work, if I don't every minute turns into an hour of endless torture.
It used to be very frequent and automatic when I was younger. In high school I used to stare in to empty space and drift away into thoughts in class, I still do this but only when I am not doing anything, like waiting for class to start.

I think one of the most common one is when your reading a book, you keep reading it, then you realize your not actually picking up the words and thinking about what the book is actually describing.

I trained to turn off this function for my English exam, at my last year in high school. I used to go on walks and really notice everything that was around me, look and be aware of the trees, grass, water, sky... any environmental stimuli really. I went into the exam and wrote like crazy, I think I would have wasted a lot more time just thinking if I hadn't trained to turn this function off or at least make it less effective. (I write quite slowly so this was necessary for me)

Yeah my aesthetic sense is getting better too when I focus on senses more. It takes me forever to finish papers because all my ideas come with a visualization. I write sentences in like 5 minute intervals sometimes, but when I finish and read it back it looks good.
 

RaBind

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You raise an intresting point, one that I seem to have missed. I often stare at the sky and look at the shades and shadows of the clouds. Their texture and shape amazes me. This is something I would have easily missed if I hadn't been focusing on my senses, at the time.

I don't know about you but its quite cold in the UK and takeing long breaths, after you've come out from a stuffy building or something, really takes away this autopilot function, for me.

Also looking at everything around you, instead of staring at the floor, while walking is a good way to combat the need to go autopilot (I am going to presume that people think when looking at the floor so your focus is not on the physical world and more towards your inner thoughts).

I use this method of being really "awake", to write long paragraphs in essays, which usually contain lots of worthless opinions. Good for subjects like english literature where your writing doesn't have to be backed up by a fact or a study/research.
 
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