posted by Nancy
Today's guest, author Dorie Graham, presented a program to my local chapter about the different types of intelligence and the different ways people learn. She then applied these principles to creativity. I found the program fascinating and asked her to share it with us today.
She'll explain the different types of intelligence and help us figure out which kinds we are. Welcome, Dorie!
At one time I worked with a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to bringing alternative education to Atlanta's children. For years I studied alternative education and one of the most interesting books I came across in my studies was Dr. Dawna Markova's THE OPEN MIND: 6 PATTERNS OF NATURAL INTELLIGENCE.
I found this book life altering, not only in how it changed my perspective on working with the children involved with our nonprofit and in home schooling my own children, but in its implications for my work as an author. I was able to take the concepts in the book, which helped me to understand how my mind works, and apply them to my writing projects.
As writers, we find ourselves in various learning situations, either at conferences, workshops, or when researching a new subject, so I’ll begin with the educational aspects. Then I’ll show you how during the writing process we seem to turn this model around, and how understanding how your individual mind is wired can help you trigger the state of consciousness needed for each stage of the writing process.
What is Natural Intelligence?
According to Dr. Markova, learning takes place on three levels of consciousness: the conscious, the subconscious, and the unconscious, in that order. We take information in through our conscious mind. Think of this as the mouth. We sort and process the information through our subconscious mind. Think of this as the stomach. Finally, we assimilate the information through our unconscious mind, just as the body assimilates the nutrients from the food we eat.
Imagine the stages of consciousness as a spiral, with the conscious state at the smallest point and the unconscious state opening into ever-widening circles. The conscious state triggers beta brainwaves. The subconscious state triggers alpha brainwaves and the unconscious triggers theta-delta brainwaves.
Perceptual Languages are Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic.
You are Smart in the perceptual language that triggers your consciousness.
You are Centered in the perceptual language that triggers your subconsciousness.
You are Sensitive in the perceptual language that triggers your unconsciousness.
There are six Patterns
AVK: Smart - auditorily; Centered - visually; Sensitive - kinesthetically
AKV: Smart - auditorily; Centered - kinesthetically; Sensitive - visually
VAK: Smart - visually; Centered - auditorily; Sensitive - kinesthetically
VKA: Smart - visually; Centered - kinesthetically; Sensitive - auditorily
KVA: Smart - kinesthetically; Centered - visually; Sensitive - auditorily
KAV: Smart - kinesthetically; Centered - auditorily; Sensitive - visually
How to determine your pattern?
• Describe your first kiss.
Cues from the language you’re smart in will be easier to recall and those you’re sensitive in will be harder, if you remember them at all.
• Teach someone something you know.
We tend to think others learn the same way we do, so will start with the language in which we’re smart.
• Analyze your speech.
We tend to speak in terms of the language in which we’re smart. (i.e. “See what I mean?” “Play it by ear.” “I’ll be in touch.”)
• Think of something that was hard for you to learn and determine which perceptual languages were involved.
A task involving the two languages in which you’re smart and sensitive will be difficult, unless you bridge the gap with a process in which you’re centered. (i.e. I’m a VKA and can’t read music, because it requires pairing a visual cue with an auditory cue. I might learn by jumping on a huge keyboard, like in “Big.”)
How can writers use this?
• Determine your pattern
• Understand the stages of consciousness used in the writing process
• Trigger the state if consciousness most helpful to your current stage
Imagine the spiral again, though this time we begin at the top, where our minds are open in the brainstorming stage. We plot in a more subconscious state and we edit and proof in a focused, conscious state. As far as the actual writing process, I think the stage of consciousness depends on the type of writer.
If you’re a plotter and plan every detail in advance, you may write in a more conscious state. If you’re the sort who writes as you go, letting the story unfold as you type, you may write in a more open-minded state. Think about what works best for you and experiment.
Do you need music playing while you write? Do you need to write in long-hand? Would a story board with pictures better help your creativity? Once you understand your own personal process, you’ll be better able to put yourself in the stage of consciousness needed at each phase of a project.
A word about characterization
Though Dr. Markova is quick to point out that these patterns are not to be confused with personalities (you’ll find a variety of personalities within each pattern), it occurs to me that as writers, we could layer in the patterns as character traits.
She describes the following relationships:
Match – two people involved in a relationship share the same natural intelligence pattern.
Conflict: the relationship can become too companionable and lose its sense of excitement.
Single Point – two people share one common point in the pattern, as in AVK and KVA are both visually centered. The single point helps them to find common ground.
Conflict: Often only come to terms at that single point. Depending on which point they have in common, different conflicts can arise. In the above example the two are in complete opposition in the perceptual languages in which they are smart and sensitive.
Scramble – two people have no common perceptual points. This is the hardest relationship of all. Relating can seem like the other person is from another planet.
Conflict: These two literally perceive the world in different ways. Real effort and understanding of the other person’s pattern is needed to make these relationships work. Feelings can be easily hurt and misunderstandings abound.
The Open Mind: Exploring 6 Patterns of Natural Intelligence by Dawna Markova, P.h.d.
- What do you think your Natural Intelligence Pattern is and how did you figure it out?
- What do you remember most about your first kiss?
- It was easy for me to figure out I'm auditorily sensitive, because being surrounded by sound and things like intense conversations open my mind and send me off on tangent after tangent until I'm so spaced out I forget where I started. What makes you space out?
Leave us a comment and let us know what you think. Nancy is giving away a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card to one commenter today.