Can The Way You Think Really Affect Your Ability To Process Words?
YES! There are two basic kinds of learners: Verbal and Nonverbal. Intelligence does not play a role in this distinction—it is simply a difference in learning and thinking styles.
Verbal learners mainly think in words rather than pictures, with a sort of internal dialogue. Verbal thought is linear and follows the structure of language. Thinking verbally consists of composing mental sentences, one word at a time, at about the same speed as speech.
Nonverbal learners mainly think in pictures. They think with 3-dimensional, multi-sensory images that evolve and grow as the thought process adds more information or concepts. They do not experience much, if any, internal dialogue. This thought process happens so much faster than verbal thinking, that it is usually subliminal.
The Dyslexia Dilemma...
Words that enable a picture-thinking person to imagine a picture, have meaning and are clearly understood. However, they are unconsciously challenged when faced with certain words like: the, was, if, and, were, in, on, as, or, that...and at least 207 others just like them (commonly known as “sight words”).
Those words are at the root of reading difficulties for a picture-thinker.
WHY? With no picture to process for each sight word, the reading material quickly loses meaning - causing confusion, frustration, and fatigue.
Consider, for a moment, that up to 60% of any given written paragraph are words that DO NOT trigger a visual picture. Imagine, as a person who thinks in pictures, trying to obtain the real meaning of a paragraph when 60% of the words are words with which they cannot think!
All of the blanks add up, leading to confusion, and ultimately to a state of disorientation where perception is no longer accurate. This is where symptoms of Dyslexia CAN (but don't always) include movement of words on the page, additions/omissions, loss of comprehension, feeling dizzy or queasy, etc. There are many symptoms of disorientation, and they can vary by the individual and by the moment. See more on the Characteristics of Dyslexia here.
Can it affect your ability to process life concepts?
"Early in my research, it became obvious to me that all the symptoms of dyslexia were actually symptoms of disorientation. When a dyslexic individual is sufficiently confused, he will disorient spontaneously without noticing it. But this is not the case with ADD, math and dyspraxic handwriting problems. For them, the effects of disorientation occur during early childhood development, long before a child is old enough to go to school. During childhood development, both the person’s natural state of orientation and the mental function of disorientation, working together, distort some children’s perception of their environment to the degree that they develop an alternate reality or concept of essential life lessons, such as change, consequence, cause and effect, time, and so on. The establishment of these alternate realities can lead to the development of ADD and, to some extent, problems with math and handwriting."
- Excerpt from The Gift of Learning © 2003 by Ronald D. Davis.