The Strengths in Being A Visual Thinker

visual learner

Throughout our lives we are faced with challenges of some kind or other. Some we take on immediately, others we try to avoid. The average human being is not a big risk taker, by nature. They allow their fears and insecurities to cloud their judgment and stop them from pursuing opportunities that may improve their lives.

Our brains process thinking three ways: through what we hear (auditory) through words, sounds and melody; kinesthetic (where learning is through activity) through feeling, touch, weight and ‘gut’ feeling/intuition; and through what we see (visual/spatial) with our eyes or in our minds.

Auditory learners are more logical. They like order and attack a problem in a methodical way. They like rote memory — learning through a sequence, like time or number lines. Auditory learners start off looking at a problem from the simplest to the more complex, and retain information best from hearing it, and then repeat it back to themselves. Most teachers are auditory learners.

An actual physical activity, rather than hearing a lecture or watching a demonstration, is how kinesthetic learning people process information. Some refer to kinesthetic learners as ‘do-ers.’ They may struggle to learn from books, but are the explorers of the world, and they remember things by going back in their minds to what they were physically doing at the time. They are often agitated and are the squirmy ones in class.

Then there are the visual/spatial thinkers. They are the ones who are always told they are doing the math problem wrong, or who march to the beat of a different drummer. They often feel inadequate — because that is the way other have made him believe. They can   feel overwhelmed when someone explains something, but when it sinks in it will click and they see not only the big picture, but the details, and hold on to the memory permanently.

Teachers have often said those with visual/spatial thinking are actually the ones with the highest IQ’s, but do poorly on tests and often drop out of school because they do not learn the same way teachers like to teach — to the auditory learners. They can understand hard concepts easier than simple ones, and think outside the box. If you were to tell a visual learner a list of words they may not be able to repeat them — but if you showed them pictures of the words they could probably tell you all of what they see.

Try this experiment to find out which type of learner you are. Look at a picture and put it in your mind. Now describe it to yourself. Which way take longer? The visual thinker will be able to tell you details in the picture. The auditory thinker will take longer because it’s almost like they have to translate what they saw into words.

This is Ron White, memory training expert, memory keynote speaker, and two-time USA Memory Champion. I hoped you enjoyed this article on visual thinking.


Wikipedia — kinesthetic learning:

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