View Full Version : Listening to something factual vs abstract


blackandwhite14
09-07-15, 05:52 AM
Hi!

I think I might have ADHD, but I have never been diagnosed. I have a specific question about ADHD. I noticed that when I listen to or read something abstract, it is almost impossible to hold the information in my "working memory". I retain in my head only few words that I just heard, but everything before that is completely blank. In the end I remember very vaguely or not at all what I heard/read.

When I work with more factual information, it is however much easier to retain the information.

Does anybody else experience this? Thank you in advance!

dvdnvwls
09-07-15, 12:32 PM
Three things I'd like to comment on:

Factual vs abstract isn't a good distinction; a lot of things are both factual and abstract - mathematics, for just one example.

A lot of people with ADHD think abstractly a lot of the time.

But to me it seems that your point is a good one, that maybe could benefit from different wording or something. Do you think it could be about hearing or reading something that (instead of being abstract) is complicated and expects you to fill in some missing information or keep track of a lot of steps? And that maybe instead of "factual" you might have meant "no blanks to fill in" or "one step at a time" or just plain "simple"?

(Working better with simple instructions only, is not related to the complexity of your own thoughts. This is (as you already said) a working memory problem and not an intelligence problem.)

Edited to add:
This might also relate to visual memory vs verbal memory and so on.

aeon
09-07-15, 01:39 PM
I know that if I am being presented some new information, I need to have a framework of understanding, or context, by which to take it in, process, and remember.

Without such a framework, I am utterly lost. I not only cannot remember, I will not be able to understand. My internal experience is one of being overwhelmed, almost like my brain is drowning. My usual reaction is to ask someone to stop speaking and ask for context. If I get it, things are usually good to go. Without it...I’m lost.

That all said, I do tend to prefer, as a whole, abstraction.


Cheers,
Ian

dvdnvwls
09-07-15, 03:30 PM
aeon: Framework, yes, exactly. I was at a job once and finally after many years had the glimmer of understanding that that was what I needed. I directly requested assistance with the framework of what was being asked of me. I was told (after I had explained pretty effectively and accurately - by my standards anyway - what was going on in my brain and what it was that I needed in order to proceed) that it was my job to make the framework myself. I failed miserably on the major project being discussed, and was subsequently fired (though not only because of that).

When I teach others anything, my first impulse is to give a clear framework first. A lot of people who don't think the way I do seem to find it an irritating waste of time.

aeon
09-07-15, 05:01 PM
When I teach others anything, my first impulse is to give a clear framework first. A lot of people who don't think the way I do seem to find it an irritating waste of time.

Oh have I ever experienced this. :rolleyes:

The fun part is when later on they want you to slow down and explain things, and this is only needed because the introductory framework was skipped over.


Cheers,
Ian

blackandwhite14
09-08-15, 09:00 AM
I know that if I am being presented some new information, I need to have a framework of understanding, or context, by which to take it in, process, and remember.

Without such a framework, I am utterly lost. I not only cannot remember, I will not be able to understand. My internal experience is one of being overwhelmed, almost like my brain is drowning. My usual reaction is to ask someone to stop speaking and ask for context. If I get it, things are usually good to go. Without it...Iím lost.

That all said, I do tend to prefer, as a whole, abstraction.


Cheers,
Ian

Thank you for your answer, Ian! I am afraid I expressed myself wrong, with abstract information I meant stuff that are hard to connect to each other, like philosophy for example.

I think I understand what you mean by needing a framework. I for instance have very hard time during the simplest labs, if I don't know have the general idea or framework as you expressed it of the material.

blackandwhite14
09-08-15, 09:07 AM
Three things I'd like to comment on:

Factual vs abstract isn't a good distinction; a lot of things are both factual and abstract - mathematics, for just one example.

A lot of people with ADHD think abstractly a lot of the time.

But to me it seems that your point is a good one, that maybe could benefit from different wording or something. Do you think it could be about hearing or reading something that (instead of being abstract) is complicated and expects you to fill in some missing information or keep track of a lot of steps? And that maybe instead of "factual" you might have meant "no blanks to fill in" or "one step at a time" or just plain "simple"?

(Working better with simple instructions only, is not related to the complexity of your own thoughts. This is (as you already said) a working memory problem and not an intelligence problem.)

Edited to add:
This might also relate to visual memory vs verbal memory and so on.

Yeah I expressed myself wrong. With abstract I meant actually stuff like philosophy or history or religion. With factual I meant information that is interconnected around a central concept. I know, the phrasing is really bad lol :D

So if the information is not interconnected, it's hard for me to keep it in my working memory. And because of this it is hard to make sense of the information.

dx0001
10-02-15, 03:22 AM
Guys,

I am an adult that was never as a child diagnosed with ADHD/ADD.

I talked to my doctor and he think that I have it so I am going to go get tested.

All through undergrad I failed miserably and dragged myself through it because the thought had never crossed my mind.

All over the AAMC website I read that a long academic history needs to be shown to get accommodations.

What does a newly diagnosed adult do in this situation?

Also what kind of accommodations have ADD/ADHD patients received in the past?

Thank you

dvdnvwls
10-02-15, 06:45 PM
Guys,

I am an adult that was never as a child diagnosed with ADHD/ADD.

I talked to my doctor and he think that I have it so I am going to go get tested.

All through undergrad I failed miserably and dragged myself through it because the thought had never crossed my mind.

All over the AAMC website I read that a long academic history needs to be shown to get accommodations.

What does a newly diagnosed adult do in this situation?

Also what kind of accommodations have ADD/ADHD patients received in the past?

Thank you

The only real "test" for ADHD is sitting with a psychiatrist or psychologist and answering their questions about your history. No other test is approved or relevant for ADHD. There are other tests you might be given in some situations, but they are there only to rule out the possibility that it might be something other than ADHD.