O Log - IQ test, Visualization, and Reactive O

[22-Nov-02] 

    I was bored, so I took an online IQ test that I stumbled on. I enjoy the sorts of puzzles that are often on IQ tests, but this test had some of the sort I hate, like

    2.  Which one of these five is least like the other four? 
         Mule 
         Kangaroo 
         Cow 
         Deer 
         Donkey 
    

    Well, a mule is the one that can't reproduce and whose parents are not mules; a kangaroo is the one that doesn't walk on all fours, a deer is the one that has not been domesticated somewhere in the world, and the cow is the most different looking of all of them. I guess the true genius can connect with the test author and nail these sorts of questions. (Actually, in psychology there is something called the "basic level" in object classification, and the kangaroo's difference is at the basic level, so I guess that's what they were driving at, but who knows, as the cow's distinctive look is also at the basic level (tho I'm visualizing the sort of big black and white cow, not a smaller brown heifer). I also think my experience around kangaroos has biased my mind over what the test author had pre-supposed was a common preception of kangaroos with American test subjects).

    I don't think I boomed any of the questions -- I thought they were rather easy outside of this sort of thing -- but it makes me wonder how fair and culturally biased these sorts of tests are. It was still fun, tho they want you to pay $15 for the answers, so I'll never know which one they think is the most different.

    ***

    Visualization is the technique of imagining yourself excelling at sports, and having this imagination translate into success on the field. I learned about visualization when I was scuba diving, and I was taught that many great athletes practice this technique, such as visualizing themselves hitting home runs or winning medals, and that it works for them.

    I do this with O all the time. I visualize myself spiking controls and running really fast thru the woods. I visualize terrain. I visualize past races where I've done well. When I trail run, I visualize how the features I see would be mapped. I have no idea if this has help me as an orienteer, but its interesting.

    Its interesting because I was doing my cross-country training run the other day, a run I've been doing for about 3 years, so I know it cold, and I lost contact with the terrain. What happened was I was visualizing my run at the relay champs, at a point in the training run where I have to take a ride thru some thicket, and I had no idea where I was. I couldn't find the ride -- I had no idea if I passed it or not. It was only for a second or two, a classic case of space out, but the interesting thing is how strong my visualization of the relay champs was at the time. It completely took over my visual cortex to the point my mind didn't have vision of the actual terrain I was running in. I'm hoping this sort of thing can explain why I sometimes space out in terrain in a race, and if I can do something about it.

    ***

    I see myself as a reactive orienteer. I see terrain during a race and look for it on the map. I wonder if most people are like this, or are they proactive -- looking for terrain that they see on the map. I wonder if its better to be proactive. My sense is that it is, because as I've gotten better, I've gotten more proactive. But my technique is a mix, and probably a mix is the right answer, but I'd still say my mix is primarily reactive.

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