# Thinking channels

🌱Planted
June 13, 2023.

Last tended June 20, 2024.

Last tended June 20, 2024.

seedling 🌱

2 minutes read ⏱

*@Jerome Bruner* created a simple framework for thinking. In it there are 3 channels people use to think about things:

Method | Description |
---|---|

Interactive | Thinking by doing |

Visual | Thinking by seeing (recognition, comparison, etc.) |

Symbolic | Thinking with language (logical reasoning) |

By switching from one channel to another or combining several of them together, complex ideas can be made easier to grasp. Using a more appropriate thinking channel can make *Unthinkable thoughts* thinkable. Imagine trying to do calculus or algebra without mathematical symbols! It turns out modern mathematics can be traced back to an interface improvement: moving from word problems to the symbolic logic enabled by the Arabic number system.

## Examples of channel switching to make thinking easier

- Symbolic -> Visual: Taking numbers (symbolic) and plotting them together on a chart (visual)
- Visual -> Interactive: A circuit diagram (visual) overlaid with frequency graphs that show the output for a given frequency (interactive)
- Interactive -> Symbolic: Math with an abacus (interactive) moving to mathematical notation (symbolic)

## shape rotation and words

@roon found that aptitude and personality tests lead to an exciting dichotomy of thinking aptitude:

- People who can rotate shapes in their mind (applications thinking/tinkerers)
- People who have strong language skills (theorists/abstraction)