I am remarkably average. Generally, I fit the measurements of the archetypical Caucasian man that most of the world is design to accomodate. It’s really quite convenient.
But of course I deviate from “normal” in a few ways. My feet are shorter than average. I’m nearsighted and suffer from hayfever. Here are a few of my other deviations:
I was born with hereditary comitant esotropic strabismus, which causes amblyopia or “lazy eye”. This basically means my eyes are misaligned so they didn’t work together. Left untreated, one eye would become so dominant the other might stop working (this happened to my grandfather). I was treated in my early school years and developed full vision in both eyes. This involved wearing eye patches, which was not cool and probably contributed substantially to my social status as an outcast nerd.
The strabismus was not treated quite early enough, though, and I developed monopsia. This essentially means my eyes don’t choreograph as far down my neural stack as in most people, making me stereoblind.
It’s a very minor little disability. I have no hope of resolving those “magic eye” posters into a 3D image, and can’t process distance quickly enough to be competent at baseball, tennis, or racquetball. But soccer, racing (bikes or cars), and other sports are approachable. When I am concentrating on something that changes depth quickly in a 3D film, it flickers like an old fluorescent lamp.
I’m also near-sighted.
Although I haven’t been in an MRI scanner for formal diagnosis, I believe I have at least mild aphantasia. This means I am not consciously aware of visualization when I think about or remember visual things. It’s not a disability at all, just a deviation from normal. Dustin Grinnell described the experience well in 2016 in New Scientist.
It’s not a formal disorder, so it’s not like I’m diagnosed. But in a University of Wisconsin survey I was a bit of an outlier:
- Internal Verbalization: 1.83/10 (2nd percentile)
- Visual Imagery: 1.6/10 (2nd percentile)
- Orthographic Imagery: 1.71/10 (12th percentile)
- Representational Manipulation: 4.63/10 (94th percentile)
I sometimes wonder if my difficulty learning new faces is related to this. But our best models of human perception are not refined enough to give me any confidence in this.
Related, I think, I have very poor episodic memory. I don’t believe I would be diagnosed with SDAM but it can feel like it in contrast to Shannon’s strong episodic memory and nearly eidetic visualization of same.