Why are sounds more “real” and understandable to me than visuals?

Michael Lievens: “When you learn a second language at a later age, it is “stored” in a different brain region than your native language, and more detached from your emotional centers. As Nelson Mandela once said upon learning Afrikaans: “If you speak to a man in a language he understands, you will reach his head. If you speak to him in HIS language, you will reach his heart.”

I’m having a similar experience using my various senses. When I listen to a text, it is directly absorbed by my intellect. But when I try to absorb information visually it seems multiple layers removed from my intellectual ability to understand and feel its message.

I feel like this “neurological distance” between my vision and interpretative ability is due to the incomplete way the visual parts of my brain developed during the same early phases of life when one usually learns his first language. Moreover, my vision has been changing throughout my life: from monocular alternating vision to double vision to some form of bi-ocular vision. My vision has yet to settle, stabilize and integrate completely with my intellectual, emotional and other centers.

Naturally this will impact the way I learn most effectively. Complementing and converting visual information with/to audio turns out to be crucial for me when it comes to absorbing information as efficiently as possible. Audio books, text-to-speech, video tutorials are essential to me. I cannot read more than a newspaper article without it.”

 

Brain imaging reveals that poor communication between four regions of the visual cortex that help process what we see is correlated with greater risk of mental illness. Credit: Maxwell Elliott https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-05-breakdown-brain-visual-networks-linked.html

Brain imaging reveals that poor communication between four regions of the visual cortex that help process what we see is correlated with greater risk of mental illness. Credit: Maxwell Elliott
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-05-breakdown-brain-visual-networks-linked.html

 

Comment by Angela Sanders:I had the exact opposite issue as a child. 60% hearing loss and ear tubes placed 3x in childhood. I sincerely cannot listen to lectures and understand them. I HAVE to see the written words in order to comprehend them. I have an extreme dislike of someone reading to me. I have to ask them to let me see the words too or I’ll never know what they’re talking about. I HAVE to see people’s names in writing or I’m never going to remember them! And, if I can see it written out or read the book (think college lectures) I will forever remember it AND remember where in the book or on my page of notes it is written and in which color it was highlighted. I could literally visualize the words on the page in my mind. I remember taking an exam in Optometry school, my disease professor walked up, stood next to me and then (teasingly) also peered up to the ceiling and asked, “Did you write the answers on the ceiling tiles?” I laughed and just said, “Nope, but that’s where I’m accessing the visual picture in my brain of my notes so I can find the right answer.” 

This article has 2 comments

  1. Pedro Underwood Reply

    Yes, you are right on this. As a professor, some of the students prefer listening to the lecture while the other ones are visually more biased and connected to the lecture and the whiteboard as they make their notes. Also, the joke at the end is nice too.

  2. James Thompson Reply

    As a developmental optometrist, I can relate to both. My experience tubes in the ear before age 5 causes auditory processing deficits unless proven otherwise. Second intermittent binocular vision dysfunctions before age 9 will cause a shift to dependency upon the auditory system. However most people are still visual. Some may find it easier to convert the auditory input into pictures (not pictures of symbols) for long term storage.

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