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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Filters and Perception
 Here is a brilliant description of what it's like to have difficulty filtering conversations in a noisy environment.  If you have friends with this challenge, or if you write about aliens who might perceive the world differently than humans do, this might be useful for you.

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fayanora From: fayanora Date: February 2nd, 2011 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Another good explanation is to describe a species that is better at communicating than baseline humans, and comparing one's self to homo sapiens sapiens, and comparing other people to this other species. Like Homo Sapiens Novus in "Darwin's Radio" and "Darwin's Children," by Greg Bear. Here we have a species that can have two audio conversations at once by talking out both sides of their mouth, and old Homo Sapiens Sapiens can't understand them when they do it. On top of that, they have melanophores (AKA "dapples") wherein they can have a third conversation while also talking out both sides of their mouth. Oh, and vomeronasal organs wherein they can smell each other's pheremones, for a fourth level of communication. (Fifth, if they still have standard nonverbal communication, which would be excessive I think.)
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: February 2nd, 2011 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad I'm not alone with that particular problem. Often, because I can have quite a bit of difficulty deciphering what is said, I watch movies with the subtitles on. It's not because I can't HEAR what's being said; my hearing is fairly keen and I can even be driven batty by the annoying hum of a TV being on without it playing any sound. It's because I often just can't decipher it, either because of too much background noise or too heavy of accents.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: February 2nd, 2011 09:46 am (UTC) (Link)
As an interesting sidenote, when speaking to someone with a different language, I can usually repeat back what he or she has said to me with the exact tone and pitch, imitating the accent perfectly. My brain is weird...
wolfbrotherjoe From: wolfbrotherjoe Date: February 2nd, 2011 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes. That's exactly what it's like.
unmutual From: unmutual Date: February 2nd, 2011 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting. I've got APD but I never thought of explaining it this way. Sometimes I tell people "My hearing's fine, but my listening is broken."

When I get enough sleep (or when I take an Adderall!) I have much less trouble with these things. Unfortunately sleep and Adderall are sort of mutually exclusive, and I much prefer sleep.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)


>>Sometimes I tell people "My hearing's fine, but my listening is broken."<<

That is a brilliant nutshell description. Thank you for sharing.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: February 2nd, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey! There's a name for it!

My filters aren't entirely missing, they're just not very good. Or maybe they're just easily overloaded.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)


Filters with very fine mesh do tend to clog more quickly, and cease to function.
judifilksign From: judifilksign Date: February 2nd, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Back in the eighties, when I was still in school, I went to a school that was "open plan." This was to get students ready for working in office maze cubicles(I kid you not.)

Basically, the school had Gymnasium sized pods. Each pod was split by office wall dividers, shoulder height. English, Reading, Science, Social Studies and Math, all in the same pod, all at the same time.

For me, it trained my filters to be able to work in loud, chaotic situations. But for many, it proved impossible to learn, and scores dropped. Students without the right kind of filters ended up being bussed to a more traditional school
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)


Yeah, that's a daft idea. Too many people do poorly in such environments.

My filters are variable. Noise is generally bad for me; I need a quiet environment for best results. I can filter things out. Trouble is, I do it by leaving this universe. Now at the near end of transit, all this does is blot out my awareness of ambient input, which means I won't hear people trying to get my attention until they make a really loud noise or grab me, at which point I yelp and jump. But at the far end, I become invisible, and people trip over me. That happens to my partner about once a month, which he finds very annoying. And I'll drift like that if I simply forget to maintain my focus on this layer of reality. It makes life ... interesting.
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