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I am very curious to find out how many others have this same or similar experience that I do. When I try to explain it to acquaintances, they usually cannot relate. Allow me to explain the best that I am able, because it is very difficult to describe to people.

The Phenomenon

With many activities I engage in, my mind's eye brings up a semi-conscious visual environment to accompany the activity. When I am listening to music, for example, my mind will conjure up an image of an environment that is familiar to me that in some abstract way connects to the music, and so as I listen, the music I am listening to mentally happens "there", often shifting to different areas of the environment. Again, it's in the mind's eye...I'm not actively thinking about it. The stronger the emotional connection to the music, the more likely it is that a corresponding image will accompany the music, and the more vivid it will be. The image is nearly always connected with a familiar emotion or aura, though, but if it lacks that, the activity is rendered bland and disconnective.

Sometimes the connecting image environment makes logical sense, such as the image of a location I was at the very first time I heard the song, and so whenever I hear the music, I am "there" again in my mind's eye. But sometimes my mind selects a place that is seemingly indecipherable, but still emotionally connected in some way - a country road next to a creek at the outskirts of town whenever I listen to a particular song.

Other activities that produce this effect include playing guitar or piano, chat or phone conversations, and reading and writing. The more emotionally-engaging the activity, the more likely a visual connection will be made.

Reasons for the Phenomenon

The question arises, "Why does this occur?" For my own personal experience I theorize that because of my strong preference for my visual sense, my brain seeks visual images to associate these activities with, to make the experience more relevant and affective. And because of my dominant Feeling preference, an increase in emotional engagement will heighten the visual activity and relevance.

There is another important aspect that interests me about why this phenomena occurs. INFPs in general, including myself, tend to struggle to live in and experience the moment, the present. So inside there develops a collection of memories and hollow experiences - an inner world suitable for the introverted explorer. We often dig through those memories, the places, the people, the feelings associated with them, and when we do so, often those memories are more experiencially powerful than the original moments when they happened!

Now, how does this tie in with this visual phenomenon? Because of the inherent difficulty I or some other INFP (or other person) has with experiencing these emotionally-laced activities in their present moment, the brain automatically reaches for past images and corresponding emotions to help augment the experience and help make it relevant in the present. Music and writing I can't stand is such that elicits no associative images for me at all, or associative images, but no accompanying emotion. The experience is then bland and dead to me, and I struggle to find ways to deeply appreciate the content. A variation is music and writing that elicits associative images and emotions that are aversive to me, or that I can't relate to. I love classical music deeply, but some classical music that is too full of major chords and is too frolicky feels foreign to me. My mind lacks the ability to produce the associative emotion of extensive, effervescent joy. It's not that that emotional experience is aversive to me, but my life experience doesn't resonate to it. Preferable would be music that contains joyful sequences that evanesce into struggle and melancholy and build up again. Such pieces conjure up a great deal of associative images and emotions I can resonate with.

Additional Thoughts

One other additional detail to explore is the production of imagined/fictional images versus reality-based images. When a song or piece of writing contains a greater density of etheriality or imagination, my brain tends to conjure up a higher percentage of uniquely-imagined visual places to associate the content with. When the content is more straightforward, yet still evocative, the associated images will likely be real-life locations.

Even as I write this, the images in my mind's eye shift from place to place, depending on what area of thinking I am pursuing, as if my brain MUST produce these associations in order for me to follow and concentrate on the thoughts.

This is an important discovery to me, and if other INFPs relate to this, I believe it is an important way of understanding one's self and learning how to relate to associate with the external world and work toward experiencing the present moment without the necessity of reaching into the archive to cradle past images and feelings to make the present moment relevant.
 

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Subterranean Homesick Alien
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I can completely relate, but I like to look at the cognitive function arrangements of xNFPs for an explanation. Ne-Fi-Si.
I think that's what relates current experiences to memories with 'feelings' also accompanying them. Imagine having Ne as your dominant function :frustrating:
Well, I think having Fi as your dominant function might also intensify it while having Ne would only make it more frequent.
Anyway, I really enjoyed reading that, and I wish I could give a beautifully in-depth post to match it, but I don't have the patience at the moment :mellow:
 

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I don't really think I experience that. My mind tends to never have solid words or images at all, only "impressions" and "vibes". It makes verbalizing my thoughts very difficult.
 
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Perhaps you could incorporate all four functions in this. As in describing past images I imagine relates to Si, you explained the Fi associative desire, maybe Ne can imagine the world, and Ti..? Maybe you used to make sense of this.
Because I think many developing INFPs have this, except it's not something that works instinctively and usually when we are only alone.

Some of what you described I have found difficult to trust within myself I think, as well as reading other INFP posts. As you described, we have a difficult time sharing/relating.

I'm having some personal difficulty relating though in the present moment as I have had difficulty finding the room to absorb myself into a moment of peace. Perhaps though I can relate it to the strong emotions I can associate with in darker moods.
I think it works in the future/past, but it is possible to in the present. Although others perception of you may be self-absorbed and therefore judged to unpeace.
 

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I'm very visual and definitely will have mental images as a reaction to something that stirs my mind/emotions, such as music. It tends to not be detailed so much as a fuzzy concept, but it's also quite clear in that it has a strong vibe/aura/atmosphere. I'm not one to live in my memory, as far as focusing on what has happened so much as what could happen. I totally get the "experience it later more than in the moment" thing, but it's more that I am processing the feelings later (best done when alone) rather than going over the details. I FEEL later, and until I feel, it does not seem as real (excuse the lame unintentional rhyme :tongue:).

The feeling tends to lead to imagining about future possibilities and exploring how I'd feel about those. I start to feel uncomfortable if I focus too much on details of past events - I think tert Si is negative for me in that way, because the view tends to turn critical and I analyze it in a way that makes it seem worse than it was. It's better I focus on the feelings that arose from the event.
 

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I totally relate. Pretty much anything that stirs some kind of emotion in me will bring forth visuals of environments. Like this video, for instance.
This song gives me visuals of a coast line, so I made this video with pictures of coast lines I thought looked most like the visuals I get from listening to the song. It's funny, it took me hours to find the right pictures, but I was so determined because I love these visuals. Such a nice stress reliever.
 

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I get what he means!
Its like if I'm really into something like a song, I visually see that I'm the one playing it out to people, like I have their voice and musical influence. Or when I was watch the last episode of Zoids: New Century and I swear I'm in the Liger Zero, beating down on the Berserk Fury. But its just with me, like I'm there but not there.
Or when I'm doing something fun, it seems to be a richer experience. I remember drawing out an action sequence on the back of a math exam, and feeling as if I was in the sequence itself, fighting the bad guy! I almost forgot to finish the exam - I was feeling that intense about it!
I see and feel it differently, like everything is awesome and kicks ass! The emotions are what brings it home though - the fact I feel that positivity surging through me makes it all the more wonderful!
It scared the crap out of me back in the day! Now whenever I feel down, I listen to that song, watch that sequence, etc. and I feel it every time. Like I'm one with the moment!
That visual phenomenon - I always thought I had a brain tumor or that was a unique trait or whatever!
I appreciate it!
 

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I've been trying to explain my personal experience with this for, like, fifteen minutes, and I haven't been able to articulate it in such a way so that it seems to make very much sense. So I'm giving up. Essentially, yes, I experience something very similar. It happens with everything. Everything, for me, has a "feel" to it.

Nyx nicely summed up everything else I would have added here. I believe it has a lot to do with the use of Ne and Si, and I think our dominant Fi makes it an even more intense experience.
 

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I totally get this. I've never really thought much about it though. I guess it's something I assumed everybody did? I know an ENFP who has related to me with this.

What you described seemed to pivot about sight? Visuals? For me, a lot of the time, it's feeling. Physical/spiritual/mental sensations. Occasionally I will "see" things though, visit an optical universe :)

As OrangeAppled expressed, I also create "videos" for songs in my head. Which is why I'm so interested in film. Alternatively, I create intricate songs in my head to go with certain things... though I never flesh anything out because I don't have the patience to learn how to use instruments. :p
 
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I also sort of Imagine a music for the songs i listen to. often times it's like a world is in my mind(not in a psychotic way as i control tihs world and i can seperate it from reality)and the memories play in my head-often times i describe my thought process as a disorganized mind map lines coming off each marking things i associate with the images in my mind
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Nyx: Thank you for exploring the cognitive functions a bit. Sometimes I'm not in the right intellectual mood to do so, which I wasn't at the time, so I was hoping someone else would look at that! I was mainly wanting to get the raw experience and explanation out there for anyone to examine and sculpt. Hey, if you have more of your own personal experience to share on the subject, and you summon the focus, please share.

As you alluded to, Fi is definitely the main instigator here, I think. If I were to analyze the real-time experience, I am pretty sure I would say that the feeling and aura usually arrives first, and that my mind produces a visual image or environment to correspond with the feeling, perhaps to make it more tangible.

rowingineden: Can you elaborate on what your impressions and vibes are like, and what triggers them or coinhabits the experience with them?

Ekeh Mayu: What is it exactly that you are having troubling relating with and trusting, and what is it preventing in relation to what you are saying?

OrangeAppled: Like you, I also don't get very detailed memory impressions. Mostly just a vaguish visual image or environment and the feeling. Specifics tend to arise only when an external event triggers a specific memory or idea that my brain wants to vivify.

I also relate to what you say about the feeling/visual memories, that as they occur and are experienced, sometimes it awakens my motivations that lead me to fantasize about future possibilities. Usually it's fantasy, but if the feelings and the succeeding motivation is strong enough to my value system I may just pursue it for awhile, rarely to fruition. The strongest example I have of this is dreams, where feelings and impressions are so unfiltered. Recollecting a treasured dream scene may urge me to wish to or actually make plans to travel to a place that it reminds me of, or pursue a friendship or relationship with a person that was prominently figured in that dream memory because of the strong emotional effect. That emotional effect sometimes suggests the future possibilities that could protract and maintain that strong feeling (If I make plans to hang out with her, maybe this feeling will grow as I actually spend time with her, and it will keep me in this state of motivation that I like).

I have recurring dreams of beaches where I find these brilliant gems and agates that produce a mighty emotional buzz both in the dream and when recollected later. This powerful feeling memory actually caused me to put lots of effort into seeing to it that a family vacation destination on the coast included a visit to a nearby agate beach. The effect wasn't the same, but I hunted for agates, and at times there would be a slight wave of that dream feeling when I made nice finds or just randomly got "the feeling". Maybe this is seeming a little digressive now, but the idea that a stored memory and image and feeling can so strongly pronounce itself upon an INFP so as to produce an entirely altered state of mind and motivation is, to me, fascinating.

Jinamuro: I absolutely relate to that motivation you have to seek after external examples to match the internal feelings and images you experience. Sometimes I am almost obsessive in doing so.

BlueMaverick: I'm glad you have been able to embrace it now. I believe this sort of personal experience has many possibilities for creativity and connection.

Under Skies: Please try again when you feel inspired to do so. I'd like to hear of your own personal experience. Let it come to you and write it as you can.

Mystery Solved: Yes, I was describing the visual experience, but only as an occurence during activities that do not have their own visual stimulation. The feeling is the main aspect, but my brain wants something visual to correspond the experience to, if you know what I mean. When I watch TV or talk with someone face-to-face, I don't visualize very often. If I talk with someone on the phone, I might start getting images of places in my mind's eye to represent where the conversation and feelings are happening.

SenhorFrio: Yeah, I have thought of it like a map often, too. Certain songs or experiences navigate to different areas of the visual map as they change. One song here, then the next song there. Also when I have had chat conversations with friends, as I alternate between friends, the location I have in my mind's eye switches. With one girl I talked to, whenever we were chatting online, the image navigated from this one neighborhood intersection to another, about 100 feet away. Depending on what we discussed, or the mood I was in, it might be in one area or another. Then I switch chat boxes and I am somewhere else! Strange.
 

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Hmm. My impressions and vibes are like... instead of getting a solid image of an umbrella or the word "umbrella", I only get a spark in my brain and then when I write or speak it, the word I produce is "umbrella". I might get a vague faded image or the sensation of a word being in my mind, like the space that a word would take up is filled. When I listen to music, my mind produces images and words to form a story to go with the music, but I just can't really grasp those words or images - they're ghosts, until I put them into a creative project or something. Maybe it's an ADHD thing or something? My brain is odd. :crying: It is very rare for me to clearly produce images or words in my mind at all, unless I am "telling a story to myself".
 

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In addition to listening as a musician, I get visual ideas, too. Sometimes they can be as vague as a color, or season. Other times conjure up the more typical, memories, or things that I wish could be memories. There might even be dialogue between people in the ideas. Often the happenings and physical surroundings are in sync with the era/genre of music.

I've never even thought to ask anyone around me about this, but I'm guessing I'd get some strange looks!

I'm still trying to learn and understand the cognitive functions.
 
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