The first mode is “intuition”, or “concrete intuition” in Aeolitalk. It is a two-step process of starting from the answer, then applying counterfactual simulation to fill in the details.
Counterfactual Simulation is applied imagination: consciously asking a “what if” question, and letting your mind imagine the rest.
Based on the stored Patterns, Associations and Interpretations, your brain will produce what it believes is the most likely scenario.
Counterfactuals are very useful because of their flexibility: you can simulate anything you want.
When you use Counterfactual Simulation, you assume the event or state you’re simulating is already true. The mind then fills the gaps between A (where you are) and B (where you want to be).
The initial step is achieved either via dogma or aesthetics. In the latter case, it is as if one “smells” or “feels” their way to the most viable answer (via subconscious path-optimizing heuristics). This is an occipital function. The best example is the latter portion of this comment.
The second mode is henceforth called “multithreading”, which is the ability to follow multiple lines of thought at once. This is a parietal function, optimized for navigating logical systems.
The superstar posters at Vox Popoli tend to report this ability, although some are better at describing it than others.
Instead of going from point a to point b to point z, point a doesn’t lead to point b, but to track a, track b, track c. And each track has its own sub tracks. And you can go from point a to point z on each track simultaneously.
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That comment thread is absolutely fantastic. I’ve read it several times and there’s always more to find. (The automatthew quote suggests he applies intuition to each branch of his multithreading process simultaneously.)
The third mode is abstract intuition, which applies concrete intuition to the aesthetic properties of ideas produced by synesthesia. I won’t be able to trace this one back until I find a good book about synesthesia, but it clearly has something to do with the temporal lobe.
There are probably more modes than this, but these are the ones I’ve identified so far. Everyone has a little bit of each, but what characterizes IQs above 130 is how dominant these processes become.