Binocular Behavior

Binocular Behavior & The Gifted – A Dysfunctional Form of Self-Protection and Control

Observing others’ behaviors is, in itself, rather healthy. It allows us to appropriately anticipate and react to kindness or threat from others, which serves to give us motivation (anticipating kindness) or information to protect ourselves (anticipating threat). However, “binocular behavior”, as I call it, is a dysfunctional level of this observation behavior – when we try too hard to anticipate kindness or threat. Relating to the world from a distance, we distort reality in ways that cause us to lose our motivation or to create feelings of insecurity. Gifted people, with their strong imaginative, abstracting and pattern recognition skills – in combination with their general intensity of mind and experience – sometimes use their “binoculars” to create very elaborate, if misguided, theories about what is happening in others’ minds, the results of which can be socially unpleasant and painful. This article aims at helping gifted individuals put down their binoculars and relate directly with the world, and to understand the crucial role that differences in cognitive timing play in the tendency to pick them up in the first place.