Absolutely terrible pattern recognition skills

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Jason7754
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Hi, thank you for reading.

Since pattern recognition skill is (I'm assuming) highly important to a career in physics, I'm just curious how poorly suited I am for studying physics given my complete lack of natural skill in this area. I am a high schooler with only basic mathematics training, so I don't know whether higher level math training/familiarity with certain mathematical concepts or certain “mental models" as Feynman called them, would help me recognize patterns more efficiently, although I seriously doubt it since these tests are designed to be administered to children as well as adults.

Here is a series of Mensa style pattern recognition tests I found online:

https://benvitalenum3ers.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/my-collection-of-mensa-puzzles/

So let me be very clear and honest. Where I look at these problems, I see nothing. No patterns emerge, not even after looking at them for 45 minutes.

I also have a very slow cognitive tempo. The problem with the red, yellow and blue circles for example - I can feel myself s l o w l y trying to assign numbers to each color, count to see if it works, no, nothing, try again, nope. Again, nope.

There's clearly a more efficient way to figure that problem out, but the point really is that *I can't see it.*

I'm not trying to sound overly negative here, just objective and honest. I can feel myself running up against the limits of my own biology when trying problems like these. It just *doesn't click.*

Perhaps there's training out there to help someone identify the best ways to solve problems like this, so that person can improve somewhat, but I feel like my principle problem, which would hold me back from ever contributing anything meaningful to research, for example writing algorithms to find gravitational wave signals amongst noisy data, is that I can't identify solutions to simple pattern recognition tests like this *on my own.* In physics research there is no one holding your hand, showing you the best way. There's no manual. No step by step instructions. That's what your supposed to be doing.

Maybe in the future technologies like neural lace/brain implants will allow a kind of democratization of intelligence, allowing more of the population to contribute to the sciences. Or maybe it will become only more competitive, with AI replacing mid-tier be researchers leaving only the truly exceptional.
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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Welcome to the PF. :smile:

Have you talked with your family doctor about this? There are several tests that they can run that may help a lot in coming up with a plan to help you address these concerns.
 
  • #3
Jason7754
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Welcome to the PF. :smile:

Have you talked with your family doctor about this? There are several tests that they can run that may help a lot in coming up with a plan to help you address these concerns.

Thank you for the reply. No, I have not, but perhaps I should. Sometimes I wonder if my problem is beyond a simple deficit in aptitude and leaning more towards learning disability territory. Not qualified to say.
 
  • #4
berkeman
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Yes, please make the appointment soon with your doc. There are a number of physical issues that can lead to the types of problems you describe, and until you and your doc address those, any other tips and techniques from us or others will have very limited value. :smile:

I'll go ahead and close this thread for now. After you have met with your doc, if you want the thread re-opened for discussion, please send me a private message (click my avatar and Start a Conversation). Be well.
 
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