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Featured Literal Thinking - Who has it?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by Anarkitty, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. Anarkitty

    Anarkitty Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    So when I first started reading about autism, I recognized myself in much of what I was reading, but there were a few things that I didn't think applied to me. Literal thinking was one of those things. I was pretty sure that I had never had that problem.

    Then I started noticing some things. :rolleyes: I started noticing how often I have to ask my little sister, "Are you being serious or sarcastic?" I started noticing that even though I'll understand the meaning of a phrase, like "tongue in cheek," I often get a literal image of that in my head when I hear it; with that particular phrase, I often even poke my tongue into my cheek when I hear or use it. (This is a literal tongue-in-cheek message, no lie.)

    But the one that I really noticed--that made me seriously reconsider whether or not I have a problem with literal thinking--is when I was reading an article about knitting needle sizes one day. The article said that knitting needles can be as fine as sewing needles or as big as tree trunks. And I immediately thought, "What could you possibly knit with needles that big, and how could you hold them, anyway?" And that's when I realized that yes, I think literally.

    I once began a poetry curriculum with my oldest son, who is also autistic. We stopped after one of the first lessons, after we read a poem that talked about different kinds of animals. The poem was okay, but the discussion about how the poem was about riding the subway really confused us. :D

    Who has fun literal thinking moments to report?
     
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  2. JDShredds

    JDShredds Well-Known Member

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    I had the same experience. I really didn't think I had a problem with it (perhaps because my mother is even MORE literal than me, so by contrast it seemed like I "got" things that she didn't, which gave me a sense that I wasn't a literal thinker... but that's like saying 500 lbs isn't heavy because 600 lbs is heavier).

    When it started to sink in was my best friend and his jokes. Its gotten to a point where he'll follow it up - after I correct him or question him - by saying something like "Jesus! I keep forgetting everything I say to you needs to be exactly literal and accurate!"

    At least I'm aware of it now, so I'll poke fun at myself. :grin:
     
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  3. Anarkitty

    Anarkitty Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Exactly. It is often funny, now that I know it's happening. Most of it actually stays in my head--well, I think, though literal thinking may be part of the reason for the number of times I've been called ditzy and an airhead. :p

    My son and I have begun telling each other, "You're way more autistic than me," when one of us does something particularly spectrumy. :) I think our level of uniqueness is probably pretty close, though.
     
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  4. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I have this problem to the point where I believe everyone who uses non-literal language is just wrong. :cool:

    Even when I learn the meaning of some of this nonsense, like "tongue in cheek," my brain won't retain the information and I keep learning it again and again! I have no clue what "tongue in cheek" means and I ain't googlin it again. :mad:

    ERMAGERD I BROKEN :(

    This is the part where I run in circles.
    :eek:*does that* :eek:
     
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  5. JDShredds

    JDShredds Well-Known Member

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    You should put a picture on your wall of a tongue literally in a cheek. Then you'll never be confused again.

    Everyone else will.
     
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  6. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Wait, I like the idea but how does that make me less confused? What do I say when people ask? "Because that's what 'tongue in cheek' SHOULD mean" ?:eek:
     
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  7. Anarkitty

    Anarkitty Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My thinking is verbal, not in pictures, so I remember them once I've heard them and been told what they mean. They're just definitions of weird phrases then. I mean, other than onomatopoeias, words usually don't have a literal link to the thing they're naming; table only means table because culturally, we've all agreed on the general meaning. I hadn't considered that for some autistic people, those weird definitions won't stick, but it makes sense since not all of us think in words.

    On the other hand, I don't think NTs get metaphors as well as they think they do. They don't come naturally to them, either. The difference is that when they learn the meaning, the metaphorical meaning stays in their noggins while the literal meaning seems to fade into the background. But when you look at how many people interpret scriptures, they often ignore metaphors in favor of literal interpretations.

    And I have an example from a less intense example than people's religious beliefs. :) My entire household (other than myself) plays the game Skyrim. They tell me that many NPCs in the game mention that they were adventurers until they "took an arrow to the knee." They tell me that at first, this just seemed rather odd to them, but then they eventually learned that fans think that the phrase means "got married" in this context. Now, most of them read that phrase as a fun way to say "got married," but my autistic son and I still see a knee with an arrow sticking out of it while, at the same time, understanding its metaphorical meaning.

    It's bloody weird.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  8. Kevin1968

    Kevin1968 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I always get a brief mental image of the literal meaning and a split second later the "proper" meaning is usually clear to me.
     
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  9. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Yes, there's many a chop between the sloth and the broth as they say.
     
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  10. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    One of the few phrases I remember and it's not even real! :mad:
     
  11. Anarkitty

    Anarkitty Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This one hurts my head.
     
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  12. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Me, me, me, puts hand up¯\_(ツ)_/¯ literal thinking is my watchword. Although I do love poetry, yet I have to read it over and over, nothing it evident.

    Unless it's the one I repeat to my husband who laughs every time, and thinks poetry is overrated because he refuses to understand it.
    It must have been the 'Rhyme of the ancient mariner" that he memorized in school that forever destroyed poetry for him. The poem I repeat to him to make him laugh is:

    The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

    so much depends
    upon

    a red wheel
    barrow

    glazed with rain
    water

    beside the white
    chickens
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
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  13. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That's SO TRUE about wheelbarrows...
     
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  14. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I enjoy poetry and usually make no attempt to understand it's meaning. I just listen to the sound of the words in my head. :D
     
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  15. Anarkitty

    Anarkitty Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm really confused. :confused: Is the poem about the wheelbarrow supposed to be funny? Or is it just that your husband thinks it is? I like it, but I didn't find it funny. :) Which made me wonder if I missed the point.

    I like some of Poe's poems because I like the way the words sound together, especially "The Bells." I also find it descriptive without being as confusing as the subway animals poem. I also like a lot of poetry for children because it's written to be a more clear--like Robert Louis Stevenson, Sara Teasdale, and Christina G. Rossetti.

    Mostly, though, I'd rather read a thick book with dragons and magic or occasionally a space ship, just to mix things up a bit. :p
     
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  16. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I like and write poetry but it does bring out obsessivy ways as I try to revise the poem until it's saying the idea or feeling as much as I can, which I never feel fully satisfied it is. A poem is never finished, it is only abandoned, as Paul Valéry said rather helpfully, this enables me to move on... eventually.

    There is some literalising going on somewhere in my process around poetry and myth and the like. But I can usually let that go and just enjoy the pictures and ambiences the poems and myths offer
     
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  17. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I coincidentally just read about the historical importance of wheelbarrows and how before them the work took an extra person to hold up the front. And the poem seems to be about the significance of wheelbarrows, so it must be written in the time period of its invention! :eek:
     
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  18. Anarkitty

    Anarkitty Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    We had a farm. Wheelbarrows are amazing, except when the stupid tires go flat.
     
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  19. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    There's many a slip between the butter and the fish
     
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  20. Loren

    Loren Well-Known Member

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    Literal thinking is one of my most prominent and obvious traits. I am unable to think of any funny moments, currently, but will return if I do.
     
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