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SilasBarta comments on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 - Less Wrong

6 Post author: Kevin 14 June 2010 06:14AM

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Comment author: JoshuaZ 13 July 2010 11:57:24PM 3 points [-]

That is, I could trace back to the beginning of what they found confusing. I don't think I was special in having this ability -- it's just something people don't bother to do, or don't themselves possess the understanding to do, whether it's teaching physics or social skills (for which I have the same complaint as you).

This demonstrates a highly developed theory of mind. In order to do this one needs to both have a good command of material and a good understanding of what people are likely to understand or not understand. This is often very difficult.

Comment author: SilasBarta 14 July 2010 12:26:44AM *  2 points [-]

Maybe so, but then this would be the only area where I have a highly-developed theory of mind. If you'll ask the people who have seen me post for a while, the consensus is that this is where I'm most lacking. They don't typically put it in terms of a theory of mind, but one complaint about me can be expressed as, "he doesn't adequately anticipate how others will react to what he does" -- which amounts to the saying I lack a good theory of mind (which is a common characteristic of autistics).

But that gives me an idea: maybe what's unique about me is what I count as a genuine understanding. I don't regard myself as understanding the material until I have "plugged it in" to the rest of my knowledge, so I've made a habit of ensuring that what I know in one area is well-connected to other areas, especially its grounding concepts. I can't, in other words, compartmentalize subjects as easily.

(That would also explain what I hated about literature and, to a lesser extent, history -- I didn't see what they were building off of.)

Comment author: JoshuaZ 14 July 2010 12:32:45AM 0 points [-]

Yes, I had that thought also but wasn't sure how to put it. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that you had that good a theory of mind for physics issues. Your hypothesis about plugging in seems plausible.