An unexpected connection

An unexpected connection

A while back I wrote a post about my cognitive testing:

It includes pictures from a particular test I took called the The Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure test, in which I had to copy a figure, then draw it from memory twice. I don’t particularly remember the conversation with my neuro-psychologist about my performance on that test, but I did look it up afterwards and saw lots of pictures of other peoples’ drawings. As I said in the previous post, I noticed how lots of other pictures seemed to start with the outline of the whole figure, whereas mine started on the right with details and then slowly moved left. I did not, though, read further into how to interpret the results. Fast forward to this morning. I’m currently listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Talking to Strangers. It’s quite fascinating and I highly recommend it. Layperson psychology is great. Anyway, I’m listening to this chapter about interrogation techniques and studies conducted in a simulated POW camp. My ears perk up when he talks about how well-trained soldiers reacted as if they were in the real world conditions, even though they rationally knew they were in a simulation. As part of the testing, they were given the same test that I was given! What they found, as evidence of the PTSD they were experiencing, was that the participants created figures similar to mine, rather than what “normal” adults generally did. Those soldiers created figures that focused on specific parts of the figure, rather than the overall shape, just like I did! What he states next, which is something I was not aware of, is that this is more indicative of a less-formed brain, a prepubescent brain. So the soldiers experiencing PTSD had stunted cognitive processing as evidenced in the test which was similar to the stunted cognitive processing that I exhibited after my treatment. Totally interesting! I don’t have any expertise whatsoever in PTSD and cognitive processing, but it’s not totally surprising to make these connections. I have also written previous posts about how my processing seems to be more like that of a child or someone on the spectrum, though I did not realize that my results were actually evidence of this.

I don’t have any particularly fascinating insights into this. Just did not expect to find my own connection and learn something about myself in a New York Times’ Best Seller!

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