Friday, March 10, 2017
Habits and conventions...
Others, though, have life experiences more akin to mine. Just to make one example: I have a neighbor who is older than I am, and has spent his entire working life around machinery. While fixing an irrigation pipe last summer, he ran into trouble that he thought was caused by his arthritis interfering with his finger strength – he was unable to remove a 6" long nipple. He called me over to help him out. The pipe unscrewed easily, and when my neighbor saw me do it, he immediately started making fun of himself – because he'd been trying to tighten it! Fifty years of field experience with machinery, and he still didn't have the directionality of threads down pat. In fact, I discovered, he relied on a little jingle (“righty tighty, lefty loosy”) to jog his memory, but somehow he'd messed that up. He told me that he's always had trouble remembering the direction to turn bolts, etc. He's even marked his tools with arrows to help him remember.
Thinking about this apparent dichotomy (people who can or can't easily remember thread directions) got me to wondering if it might be related to dyslexia. A little googling quickly eliminated that hypothesis: dyslexia is strictly related to words (as you can see from the word's roots!), and doesn't affect any other abilities so far as I can tell from the studies I scanned. I learned thread directions so long ago that I can't recall at all whether it was difficult for me to learn. Anything you've learned so well that it's now not even raised to a conscious level is, I suspect, like that.
Might it be related to one's spatial reasoning ability? That's an area where the tests I've taken indicate I have a high ability, and it's also (feminists, avert your eyes) one where women score, on average, considerably below men. Some men, obviously, score low as well. I wonder how well this ability correlates with the ease of internalizing thread direction? Or the sense of “proper” twist-em direction? :)