How We Prefer to Experience the World

Although no one has scientifically proved that people have defined learning “styles” (i.e. kinesthetic, visual, auditory), no one could question that most of us have preferred ways to get information and experience the world. (And I’d venture that receiving messages in our preferred formats more likely sticks with us—scientific evidence or no scientific evidence.)

A sales training course tested students—including me—for our learning styles. My results returned strongly kinesthetic, which surprised me so much I asked to retake the examination. I love reading. Surely visual learning serves me best?

Wrong.

Turns out that kinesthetic people love to read. In fact, reading without photographs or motion graphics requires a person to internalize the information, create her own visuals, invoke the feelings described. Kinesthetic people depend heavily on how things feel to them emotionally, intellectually, and physically when making decisions and developing impressions.

Sure, I have a little visual in me. I can’t remember the exact percentages, but I was probably 75 percent kinesthetic, 20 percent visual, and 5 percent auditory.

Or less than 5 percent. My mind wanders rapidly when people talk at me. If in conversation—action—I engage. When in a lecture, I struggle to keep my focus.

And I can’t make it past a one-minute video. (Statisticians would never consider me a contributor to today’s astounding on-line video consumption statistics.) Movies and television hardly interest me.

How do you prefer to get your information and experience the world?