Pattern thinking, psychosis, and psychedelics
The brain is designed for pattern thinking. See pattern recognition research in cognitive science and psychology.
Researchers have argued that the capacity of working memory is better characterized as the ability to mentally form relations between elements, or to grasp relations in given information. — via How Many Variables Can Humans Process?.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of Green and Turkeltaub’s tDCS experiment is the nature of “creativity” it promotes. Subjects don’t suddenly begin writing music or painting abstract art — rather, they make unseen connections. via The Lightbulb: Georgetown Researchers Spark Creative Thinking. (related to Connected creativity)
In schizophrenia, patternicity can be a feature of paranoia. If the brain is designed for pattern thinking, are neurodivergent people seeing more / too many connections?
In relation to autism: "I’ve given A great deal of thought to the topic of different ways of thinking. In fact, my pursuit of this topic has led me to propose a new category of thinker in addition to the traditional visual and verbal: pattern thinkers." via How an Entirely New, Autistic Way of Thinking Powers Silicon Valley.
Psychedelics also lead seeing more patterns, whether conceptual or visual. Are the mechanisms similar to the ones found in neurodivergence?
"The recent renaissance of psychedelic science has reignited interest in the similarity of drug-induced experiences to those more commonly observed in psychiatric contexts such as the schizophrenia-spectrum." — via Hallucinations Under Psychedelics and in the Schizophrenia Spectrum: An Interdisciplinary and Multiscale Comparison.
Both psychedelic and psychopathologic hallucinations have strong metaphysical meaning, but with 5-HT2A agonists reality monitoring & insight are usually preserved.
Pattern thinking + psychedelics: any link to the stoned ape theory?