*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
January 22, 2018, 12:10:11 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 131 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Non-Visual Thinkers & Imagined Space  (Read 1742 times)
Cemendur
Member

Posts: 61


« on: November 25, 2003, 04:51:31 AM »

In Art Does It Matter?,  ways of learning and ways of thinking were discussed in relation to RPGs.

Quote from: Lxndr
On the other hand (and this is getting a bit tangential) it somewhat surprises me that the population of "gamers" would encompass a high number of visual learners, since what the player sees is the least important part of any game, in terms of Actual Play.  All a player gets to see is the other players sitting around the table.  Conversely, players get to do things tactily (rolling dice, manipulating the character sheet) and audially (listening to the speech of, well, all the players).


Visual thinking was also discussed. These two can be interconnected, but they are distinct abilities.

What intrigues me is that Lxndr stated that not only does he not learn visually, but he also does not think or remember visually.

Role-playing (gaming) is for me about a shared imagined space. "Shared imagined space" is an accurate description for us visual thinkers. But what of non-visual thinkers? They have no "imagined space", no images in their minds? What is role-playing to them?

Lyndr, can you give us a glimpse (for us visual thinkers) into your mind, into the way you perceive play?
Logged

"We have to break free of roles by restoring them to the realm of play." Raoul Vaneigem, 'The Revolution of Everyday Life'
Lxndr
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 1113

Master of the Inkstained Robes


WWW
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2003, 06:26:48 AM »

A lack of images in the mind is not the same thing as a lack of "imagined space."  Things are still imagined, honestly!  It's not imaged, perhaps, but it's still "visualized" in the more generic sense, and it's definitely still imagined (and generally is still space).  "Imagination" and "visual images" don't have to go hand in hand.  I've imagined sounds, images, but mostly I imagine abstract concepts (in the same way that I remember people).

I'm not sure how to give a glimpse, though, lacking as I am in telepathy and its related benefits.  Roleplaying and book-reading create the same imagined space for me, although they are accessed and manipulated very differently. The space is really sort of amorphous blob of information that can be accessed directly, or made to interact with other amorphous blobs.  So characters are blobs, relationships are interactions between blobs, the setting is another blob and/or set-of-blobs, and so on.

Does that help at all?
Logged

Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2003, 10:42:29 PM »

Yeah, I think I get it.

When my wife reads a book, she forms mental images of the people involved. I realized this when she read an early draft of my novel Verse Three Chapter One and complained that my description of Lauren Hastings somewhere in the last fifth of the book couldn't come there, because what I described did not fit what she had imagined. Now, when I wrote that book, I had a pretty solid image of what Lauren looked like from the beginning (owing in part to the fact that this was originally conceived as the script for a comic book series) which I just hadn't found a way to present prior to that moment. But when I read a book, unless I've already seen images of the people (sketches or artwork, film versions, that sort of thing) I don't have images ready at all.

Interestingly in this regard, a few years ago I started reading the Harry Potter series so I would know what it was all about. Then I saw the first film. Just recently I was reading the first book again as a bedtime story to my youngest, and was jarred by the fact that the book descriptions of some of the characters did not match the actors who played them in the movies. What is telling is that although I read the books first, I did not have that jarring experience when I watched the movie--only Hermione Granger struck me as wrong, and that was primarily because the books make a big deal out of how funny looking she is (more like Margaret in the hand drawn Dennis the Menace strip, I think), and the girl who played her in the film was actually rather good looking. It wasn't the details--frizzy hair and big teeth--but the overall effect that impacted me. Thus I realize that when I initially read the books I did not picture the characters at all--I read their descriptions and filed it away as information. Now as I reread them, I fill in the images with those from the screen, and notice the inconsistent descriptions.

So I'm probably less visual than some, and can understand Alexander's explanation.

--M. J. Young
Logged

Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2003, 06:41:11 AM »

Neurolinguistics, a fringe field of psychology, says that there's 3 elements of imagination which correspond to our senses: visual, audio, and kinesthetic.  (I think kinesthetic includes tactile, body-location sense, and emotions).  We are capable of imagining in all three of these areas - basically manifesting virtual experience of our various senses - but each person has a preferred mode.  For some, vivid visual images dominate, while for others sounds have the greatest impact in their imagination.

Myself, I tend to have kinesthenic imagination.  If I imagine a building, my primary experience is of "feeling" the wieght and open spaces of the structure.  If I imagine a conversation, I feel the emotions.  I do have visual images associated, but they tend to be dim - not the bright things some people describe.

My point is that one doesn't have to be visual to have an imagined shared space.  

First, every human without brain damage has an imagination, regardless of the mode they use.  The word "Space" from "Shared imagined space" works for all three modes, not just the visual.  Second, and more important, "Shared imagined space" isn't in a single mind, nor in every single player's mind, nor does it have existence without the people.

"Shared imagined space" is itself an imaginary place, where we as analysts place the collection of details on which everyone around the table agrees (tacitly or explicitly).  In reality, we have a circle of people, each with their own understanding of what has been agreed on - and they can only know what others think has been agreed on through communication.  So "Shared imagined space" really refers to a process - like combustion or fusion - that only exists when an interaction is ongoing.
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
ethan_greer
Member

Posts: 869


WWW
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2003, 07:32:09 AM »

My internal visuals are more like comic book panels.  I don't imagine in full motion video, but I do get pictures of what people look like.  Therefore, it's jarring to see films based on books.  But beyond those comic panels and portraits, I really like the way Lxndr describes the "amorphous blob" imagined space -- I do that too, and it's a near-perfect way to describe it.

Cool.
Logged
Green
Member

Posts: 247


« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2003, 10:25:19 PM »

Like several people here, I tend to be very impressionistic about images.  It's hard for me to recall specific details, but I can describe at great lengths about how something "appears" to me psychologically.  On a certain level, I suppose it's desirable because I don't need specific, verifiable details to be able to respond to certain images.  For instance, the LotR movies.  It didn't both me when the actors didn't resemble every strand of detail Tolkien wrote about them as long as the impression was the same.  In most cases, I was pleased because the actors gave me the same psychological impression that the book gave, or in some cases something more.

On the other hand, it sucks because that means in situations where being able to recall that sort of information is important, I can't do it for the life of me.  I'm terrible with putting names to particular people unless I've seen them several times or if there is something especially striking about how they look (or about the vibes I get from them).  So, people mistakenly assume a blank stare for arrogance, spite, or rudeness, when in fact I'm trying to remember where I've seen that quasi-familiar face.  Then again, I tend to score as highly Intuitive in the Meyers-Briggs personality indicator, so that may have an impact as well.

I don't know if this is abnormal or what, but when it comes to imagining things, the details that stick with me most are things described in terms of smell and taste.  I've heard that it's because human memory is more closely linked to these than any other of the five senses, but that may or may not be true.

If only instead of visual art in RPGs, they had scratch-n-sniff pads.
Logged
Cemendur
Member

Posts: 61


« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2003, 02:52:46 AM »

Thanks for your responses. I have been contemplating each of them and just finally digested it all.

M. J., you get it. Visualizations can be impressionistic, abstract, or as varied as paintings. Sometimes it is vivid for me, othertimes I am weighted to an abstract expressionist world, attempting (or not) to create a more vivid image. Smells will invoke the most visually vivid of images for me. They can also invoke intense emotional memories.

Alan is right, "shared imagined space" was the wrong concept. The concept becomes "imagined space". Even that is inadequate. What I meant by this is "visual space" or the virtual reality of the mind.

Lxndr, I can understand why my terminology was discordant for you. Imagination, at least in its broader sense, in the sense where it is synonymous with creativity and originality, is not limited to visual thinking. Surely, Einstein did not mean only visual creativity when asserting that imagination is more important than knowledge.

Are you saying you do have visuals, but they are amorphous blobs? Or are you stating that that the way you conceive can best be described visually as amorphous blobs. If it is the second case, try describing how you perceive role-playing in non-visual terms. (Visual terms usually invoke visuals for me and we are trying to invoke "abstractions". Perhaps philosophical terms?)

"Visualization", for me, means visual representation "in" the mind. I can certainly understand having a different conception of the term if you have no visual representations, you translate it to your own experience. When I am asked to visualize a bell, I see a bell, usually a small hand bell with a stem. If I were a rancher, I imagine (and yes I am seeing the picture in my head) I would see a cow bell.

When I am asked to think of the sound of a bell, I hear the sound. Actually now that I think of it I don't, I say dinggggggg to myself with my internal dialogue. My auditory thinking is very low. (Although on the tests, I tend to score low to average because I enjoy music and enjoyment is usually measured.) I was absolutely amazed as a kid when I found an older friend of mine reading a book of music, nothing but music, Beethoven's 9th or something. Absolutely amazed that he actually heard the sounds in his head. I hear onomatopoeias in my head, not sounds. Now when my musician friend is asked to "picture" a bell, he does not visualize a bell, he hears it. Not an onomatopoeia but a true bell sound. I can imagine if he role-played, it would be in sounds. He would be in the imagined space, audibly, but not visually. He would hear the sword fight, not see it. He would hear the fantasy world, not see it. I can conceive of this, but if I tried it, it would be onomatopoeias and visuals (cause it would take an altered state of consciousness not to).

While I am very dense when it comes to auditory thinking ability, I have an excellent ability to think in abstractions or at least in some abstractions- I think "abstract thought" is actually many different thinking styles lumped together. However, I would not describe my abstract thought as amorphous blobs.

Lyndr, do you perceive characters, interactions, objects in a room, etc. like interactions between philosophical constructs? Is alignment similar to objects in a room? Are these similar to questions of morality? Or is it emotions or something else?

For me, the "imagined space" is visual and emotional.

ethan_greer: Interesting, my visuals are akin to "virtual reality". I am not sure how I read comic books, it may be that I don't read them because it jars my virtual reality whereas reading fiction plants me in the world visually and emotionally.

Green: My wife is extremely psychological/emotional in her thinking and not at all abstract. We tend to relate visually, but the most intense relations are emotional and conceptual. Smell and taste are intense memory triggers at least for many people.

I am really excited by this discovery. I knew, years ago, that people think differently. While I have been doing a lot of thinking about different intelligences, I have not thought about ways people think in years and ever in terms of role-playing.

Well I am off to Thanksgiven' Feast with family but I hope this continues.

A final question to everyone. How would you describe your "imagined space" when you play an RPG?

I'll sum up mine. I picture my character, usually in a first-person perspective, but sometimes in other "camera angles". I visualize the world as in virtual reality. I hear onomatopoeias and "feel" the "emotions" of my character. I will have to think about my "imagined space" next RPG session, I am sure other details will appear esp. "abstractions".
Logged

"We have to break free of roles by restoring them to the realm of play." Raoul Vaneigem, 'The Revolution of Everyday Life'
Lxndr
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 1113

Master of the Inkstained Robes


WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2003, 11:22:28 AM »

You're on the ball with the second one.  I do not visualize blobs, but when I try to put a visual analogy to them, "blobs" is what pops up, since "blob" is about the least visual term I can imagine while still being visual.

Hmm.  A philosophical term?

I guess I think of people, places, things, etc., in terms of their "platonic ideals."  What they are when all else is taken away (and yes, physical appearance is part of "all else").  To think of it mathematically, I imagine things as if they were interlocking sets, each filled with points of data (in a fuzzy-logic sort of way).  And yes, everything its pretty much the same.  The setting is a construct, a person is a construct, alignments are constructs, the game mechanics are a construct (and in my view a rather important one, since they are the "physics" of the game world).  Constructs can be nested inside constructs, or just barely touching them, etc., depending on how many points of data they share (i.e. a room would have "chair" as a point of data in it, which in turn would link to everything I knew about the chair).  If I see a picture of a character, I'd be able to put "picture of character" into a construct, but the picture itself wouldn't be there.

I'm of the opinion that there is a fourth mode of thought/learning, above and beyond auditory, kinesthetic/tactile, and visual.  Abstract, imho, is different from all the above, and that's how I think.

(On a related note, human memory IS strongly triggered by scent.  But scent doesn't convey information, rather is works as kind of a "lock" on other sorts of information.  Or at least, that's how I understand it in layman's terms).

My imagined space when gaming, the best I can remember, is roughly how I imagine a book - I "see" (non-visually) what's going on.  To try to simplify it, I basically process the data and get a flowchart/etc. of what's going on, and then react to that.  That's not nearly as... I don't know, maybe poetic?... as what actually goes on in my head, but it's a good summary.
Logged

Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2003, 04:02:14 PM »

I think in my mind it keeps shifting.

I know that from a game played a few years I have a few mental snapshots--a walk on a dirt road through the woods, an arial view of an enemy camp, the interior of a building in which we were hidden, a high-tech watercraft parked beside a metal access to an underwater complex, the halls of that complex--but I don't think I saw more than a few seconds of movement in that kind of detail at any point. Other times, particularly when events are happening quickly, the scene devolves to the sort of pips on a map imagery I think Alexander may have been trying to explain--I think of the old Intellivision D&D game in which you decided which way to move your character through the mountains, but at that point he was just a dot on the map, or of countless spacefighter games in which a squadron of ships is a triangle of dots which can be blown away one or two at a time (O.K., so I remember video games from when the graphics were terrible, what can I say?). I never used miniatures to play, but we sometimes used chits (Star Frontiers had these in abundance, and we were familiar with them from some of the old bookcase games). A mental image of the relative positions is often all I've got. In fact, sometimes I've got less. I remember running a scenario in which the character entered a bedroom and started asking questions. At the moment he entered the room I knew there were three beds, a throw rug in the center of the floor, and other furnishings appropriate to the room of three medieval royal princesses. I think I knew what the double door looked like. Every time he asked a question, I created an answer. The fireplace was added, because when he asked it made sense that there would be such a thing. When he asked what was over it, a mantelpiece came into my mind, and then when he asked what was on it it suddenly sprouted completely nondescript knickknacks, a couple of which then took enough form to describe. I had no image of anything in that room, no spatial concept of the relationships between the objects, nothing at all but that the rug was in the center of the floor and therefore that area was clear. If I tried to draw the room now, there's probably no way I could actually make such a room and fit everything into it without doing something really strange somewhere--there's too much stuff for any reasonable amount of space. It can't be visualized.

Oddly, I'm also a musician, and I can read a score and know what it sounds like--but I don't hear it; I grasp it theoretically. I've written a lot of music that way, where I'm putting notes on paper and I know exactly what they sound like and how they fit together, even though I can't hear them. I don't usually imagine soundss--even my dreams are usually silent, although I know what everyone is saying. I used to tell of one dream in which one of the interesting aspects was that I entered one room and the sound came on in the dream--I could hear the people talking in the room, had a conversation which was audible, and then left, but when I reported to my companions what I'd learned, there was no sound. Later in that same dream, I, in the dream, heard the person beyond me yell to run, but as the dreamer I heard nothing. I can imagine someone's voice, but it's very difficult and rather fleeting.

And I agree that there is an abstract category of learning. I do pretty well in that.

As long as that's raised, I'm surprised that reading is considered auditory. I'd been given to understand that listening learners and reading learners were distinct groups. In fact, I'm much more of a listening learner, absorbing a great deal of what I hear but having much more trouble retaining details of things I read, while my wife gets very little out of lectures but didn't understand how her friends who read the same textbooks she did couldn't answer every question on the test correctly if they'd read the material. I'm not sure how to reconcile that with the proposed model.

--M. J. Young
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!