Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Eyes Have It

Okay, so this post won't be about food.
Or, travel.
Or, anything retro.

It's just a post to share something about myself.
So, if you know me, you might understand me just a bit better.
And, perhaps be a smidgen less annoyed.

I was reading a couple of websites about Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic learners. And, I happened upon a blog of someone who described what she felt was a breakthrough. She decided that her husband was more auditory and she was more visual.

I REALLY identified with something she said:

On the blog Passionate About Life, she wrote:
... I usually say “I am trying to see that” when he is talking to me and sometimes I look away from him because I am trying to picture the things he is saying in my head or I am trying to refer to the materials on screen/printed materials that he is talking about.

I bet he thinks I am rude because I am looking away when he is talking or looking distantly (when I am trying to picture things in my head, my eyes will sort of look up and away from the speaker).

I do that.
And, sometimes I can actually SEE how much it bothers people.
I really do.
They chase my eyes with their eyes - almost in an attempt to "bring them home" to theirs again.

But, I have to look away...
To think.

If someone asks me to remember something -
regardless if it's a number or something visual -
I can't be locked into their gaze and respond.

It's like I'm in "listening mode" not "replying mode."

And, I hate that.
Because I was a law enforcement major.
And, I realize that most people equate "looking away" as "lying or deception."

For me, I need to break eye contact to "take a moment" to truly recall the answer.
I need to break eye contact to be MORE accurate, not less.

They wonder why it took a moment -
wondering why I needed a second to "decide" on the answer, or why I looked away.

It's because I needed to break the gaze to reach that part of may brain...
That held the answer.

And, also because I likely had a mini-fight in my head.
"Dang, I broke eye contact and they're all nervous, and I hate that."
I see your frustration.
Then I have to remember what you asked.

Basically, if I'm looking in your eyes, I'm listening.
If I'm looking away, I'm responding.
Or, I'm visualizing what you said.
Or, trying to make sense of it.

If I take a moment to respond and look away...
I'm not lying.
I'm unlocking.

For example, even if you ask me how to spell the word "white," my brain either visualizes the word on a page...or, instantly I am in my first grade classroom in the back desk on the left where I first learned there was an H in the word, white.

So, that's why I break eye contact.
I have to.
It's like your eyes are holding my tongue captive.
And, until I look away, I can't recall, so I can't respond.

And, I know it drives people nuts.
Trust me, it drives me nuts, too.

That's why reading what she wrote above really "clicked."
Just thought you should know.
That's how I'm wired.

Edited to add:
I was just reading about Kinesthetic learners on Wiki.
(I realize that Wiki is not always an accurate source.)
Wiki wrote:
They will remember things by going back in their minds to what their body was doing.
LOL - Like sitting in a classroom, learning that the word "white" has an H in it?
:) Pin It


Jules said...

Oh I get it. I totally get it. And I get you being concerned about what others may think about your level of honesty when you're doin' it, too.
Mine is time - the passage of it and general math around it. If you ask me how old I was in the 5th grade, I first have to figure out what year that was and then do the math. If you ask me when I had such-and-so accident or injury, I may not be able to tell ya' at all. I can't even tell you how long my folks have been married without first factoring my age, adding x years to get to my sisters age, and then adding y years until I get the result.
It's something I do my best to warn folks about from the onset. "Last week" to me could be sometime the week of March 16th, or it could be sometime during January 2009.
God help me if I'm ever questioned about my whereabouts on such-and-so date ...

Anonymous said...

I question how much that has to do with auditory vs. visual. I have always been much more auditory (although I'm more balanced as I get older), but I do the same thing. I think it's more about being a thinking person vs. an associating person. Some of us feel we have to understand the questions and forulate a reasonable response before we can answer it. Other people feel that can just respond with something off the top of their heads.

That business of looking away is something I think most people do while think... it's just that not everyone feels the need to think while holding a conversation.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I really like it when I get the chance to talk with someone who pauses to think as they talk. I've seen others get impatient with it, but I personally find it much more interesting to talk to someone who holds conversation at a pace I can keep up with.

jackiecat said...

Gee Dana, I never noticed that about you, so obviously it never bothered me. It is an interesting perspective about how people process.

Many times I wish I had stopped to think before responding.

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