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Learning about communication and perception
A Woman's View
paw jm judi tabler
Judi Tabler

Do you ever think about how you visualize concepts or thoughts in your mind?
Right. You haven’t have you?
We are not alike in how we process our thoughts. We perceive a myriad of images according to our experiences in life, and each of us perceives according to how our particular, very individual, mind works.
In fact, we are all so different in processing our thoughts that it’s a wonder that we can communicate effectively with each other at all!
If there is no absolute to help us to guide our thinking, we err and stray, amble and imagine, delete or add to our thoughts and conceptions daily. Our past experiences, our transgressions, our foibles and fumbles all effect how we hear and communicate.
We hear what we want to hear; but even more, we process only what we can perceive.
Here’s an example.
Someone tells you that your package will come in a week. What’s that?
A child might understand a “week” as perhaps 7 sleeps. He doesn’t understand a “calendar” yet. An older child thinks of the calendar. Perception is abstract.
When you think of a week, or a month, do you visualize that thought?
How do you remember that the package will come in a week?
I see little squares in my mind; the first being Sunday which is connected to the square (Saturday) from the previous week. Then I see Monday, Tuesday, etc all as squares in my head. We are at the 5th square today.
A week. What do you imagine in your mind?
Agnes Flockfetter is a very bright, well educated woman and friend. But she doesn’t pronounce words right sometimes.
She still calls Larned, Larnerrrrrrrd. I see the word “LARNED” in my head, so I sort of “read” the word. Of course I don’t THINK about it every time, but I do visualize the word...Larned.
Agnes does not imagine the word in her head. What she hears auditorially is how she remembers the word or communiqué. She says she’s a visual learner, and I am sure she is. But she isn’t visual in her perceptions like I am.
She used to call Handley Shaver Plumbing, “Hakely Shakely”...In other words, she does not see the visual words in her head when she mispronounces. Her visualizations in seeing the word SPELLED out in her mind is just not on her learning curve. Forgive me, Agnes. You are just a riot!
Moody Milhouse, an adult now, could never read.
He could not learn by the standard “pattern” of teaching and learning. He saw words all right, but they were backwards. The words imprinted in his mind that way. He was a smart young man, and being dyslexic in those days was not understood well. Thus, he perceived himself as not very bright.
His visualization was different.
Communication with him couldn’t be through a reading exercise. He did not fit in the box that requires a certain way to learn. Today the educational system is much advanced in this area, but then it was not recognized as much that different minds need different learning approaches.
Questioning Milo about his perceptions was interesting. Milo pictures a calendar in his mind but also numbers when asked to process the word, “Week”. Greta, his wife, sees a calendar as well.
But when I asked Milo how he thinks when I suggest the Auxiliary Gift Show at the Community Center in October, Milo says, “When you say ‘gift show,’ I instantly see rows and rows of tables and things that Greta doesn’t need!”
Every thought either is translated into a picture in our heads or a feeling, a smell, a memory, an experience.
Think of going to Kansas City?
You probably envision a map. Hear about a town called Waubonsee, and you most likely see the word in your head. But not all perceive that way.
The next time you have a thought think consciously of how you are receiving the thought. Is it an emotional reaction to a past experience? A picture? A number? A song in your head?
We hear each other’s words loud and clear, but we don’t necessarily “understand’ each other the same way. We communicate with words, but we process those thoughts intensely different.
No wonder we often get misunderstood! That’s my excuse, and I am going to keep using it!

“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother. Contact Annie at pprarieannie@gmailcom