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Mindstyles and the workplace in the 2020s
Much has been written in recent years about ways of classifying variation in human intelligence, such as musical intelligence, verbal, analytical, emotional, spatial, kinesthetic, and so on. Such discussions have been fruitful, especially considering how the understanding of intelligence had previously been mainly limited to serial, sentential, logicalreasoning. Not as much has been said about styles of mind, however. Mindstyle refers to tendencies in how a person responds to surroundings. It's the way a particular mind tastes the world.
A person may have a special aptitude not only because of some innate neural advantage, but also because a small preference for doing things a certain way will over time have significant consequences for how aperson's mind habitually works. Similar to the principle of compounded interest, a small change in mental emphasis will accumulate over time, as prior effects on the mind become factors in how the present mental state affects a subsequent state, and so on.
Mindstyle describes tendencies, natural patterns of response, essential characteristics, tendencies in processing information, proclivities,and preferences in how to approach situations. Given two equally plausible viewpoints, mindstyle is what most clearly influences which one a person will choose.
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Mindstyle is the "shape" of mind, determining how the liquid essence of thoughts tends to flow into the mind and become contained by it. Some aspects of mindstyles are habitual, acquirable, and changeable. Others are too deep to beaccessed.
Visual thinkers are often able to think on their feet. They simply "see" the way things are, without pondering much. Poetic-symbolic thinkers tend to appreciate more ethereal flavors and nuance that are difficult to visualize. Auditory-verbal thinkers instinctively search for terminology-driven concepts. Episodic thinkers habitually see the world as strings of events or stories to tell,whose meaning lies in their interconnectedness.
People who tend to be concept creators excel at assembling experience and observations into bundles or packets. Concepts organize experience and prioritize perceptions. They are like non-physical symbols that have to be constructed. They aren't readily observable in any single experience, but are instead made of flocks of fragmentary, often silent,unnameable experiences.
Concepts can stand as surrogates for other, more complicated situations. The power of a concept depends by how accurately it can replace the complexity of what can be directly perceived but not easily described.
Tight, frictionless concepts can be thoroughly contagious, and can travel quickly through a culture, or even across cultures, in unexpected ways.
"Visual"thought, the miraculous fruit of instantaneous thinkers who size up a complex situation in a single whack, is inspired by immediate situations in everyday life. Visual thought may also be conceptual, especially in visual thinkers who are also educated or especially curious. Visual thinkers have an advantage in an environment where quick decisions have to be made based on limited information.
. . .Some people look for differences, others for similarities. People who look for ever finer shades of difference sometimes have difficulty seeing how things resemble each other. A person who is a close friend or relative of twins may not see them as looking alike, while outsiders may have trouble telling them apart. Difference and similarity -- levels of contrast -- are really a matter of how we adjustthe settings on our perceptions.
That difference in emphasis on differences leads to contrasting styles of mind: the metaphorical mindstyle is quick to grasp similarities, no matter how remote, while the analytical mindstyle delights in finding tiny grains of distinction.
Metaphorical people often do poorer on standardized math exams because they tend to confound aspects of problems, seeing...
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