October 01, 2015

Visual? Auditory? Tactile?

Learning styles.  This subject has been occupying a lot of my brain power lately so I figured I'd write it down and let you think about it too.  :)

There are three main learning styles:

Visual (learning by seeing)
Auditory (learning by hearing)
Tactile (learning by touching/doing)

Which twin H is which?
Growing up in a large family and being homeschooled has caused me to notice this more than I might have otherwise.  When it comes to the tricky subject of spelling, there are three different strategies in my home.  Visual learners do best if they take the time to draw a picture using the word.  Auditory learners just spell the word out loud several times and then sound it out the way it would sound if it sounded like it's spelled.  Tactile learners tend to use an alphabet hop-scotch mat and physically "hop" out the words letter by letter. 

This translates to all different subjects... during math, visual learners write down the problem, auditory learners whisper under their breath talking themselves through the problem, and tactile learners oftentimes count on their fingers well into highschool. 

This made me curious as to my learning style.  So, I took a test.  My results were:

50% Visual
25% Auditory
25% Tactile

I rely heavily on my vision, but I also suffer from slight dyslexia, which causes me to flip numbers (especially 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers) making memorizing historical dates and phone numbers very difficult (did the Civil war end in 1865 or 1856??).  But if I say these numbers out loud or create a picture with them like in the example above, I am more likely to remember.  When I'm shopping, I first decide if I want to get something by the way it looks, then I touch it.  I use YouTube more than any other site for discovering new things because it's visually appealing.  While I love reading, the lack of visual stimuli from audio books leaves me unable to concentrate.   

After watching a TV show today (no judging, it was educational) my mind very nearly blew a fuse as I began to question the importance of knowing our learning style as we navigate life.  How much does our learning style actually affect our every day lives?  Being a visual learner defines the way I learn, memorize, shop, and what forms of entertainment I prefer...

But what else does it affect? 

Have you ever been sitting peacefully at a stoplight and suddenly thought you were rolling backwards?  After slamming on the brakes, you realize that the car next to you was creeping forwards, causing vection?

The perception of self-motion induced by visual stimuli.      

As a visual learner, do I experience this illusion more often than tactile or auditory learners?  For that matter, are visual learners more likely to be fooled by an optical illusion?

Have you ever been watching a movie and suddenly jumped because the poor extra got shot unexpectedly?  Are auditory learners more apt to jump in this situation than visual or tactile?  Are you more successful at scaring a tactile learner if you include physical stimuli, such as grabbing him/her from behind rather than just saying "Boo!"?

Finally, do these inherent discrepancies explain why three people who witness the same crime all recount it differently?  Is it because they are automatically programmed to pay more attention to one aspect more than another?    If visual learners were only allowed to testify about what they saw, auditory learners what they heard, and tactile learners what they experienced, would the stories match up better?  Or, does knowing this about themselves cause them to compensate, forcing them to pay more attention to the other two that are not inherent to them?

I probably should have warned you - I do not have any answers today.  Maybe someday, but not today.


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