Difference Between Conceptualization and Understanding

As I understand Conceptualization — now relabeled as Developing a Plan — it is imagining an entire scheme or model. It’s the Mass of Psychology, whereas Conceiving is Energy of Psychology. It takes a lot of Conceiving to get a chunk of Conceptualization. Their counterparts in Physics are Understanding and Learning, respectively.

So, what distinguishes one as a Physics context, aside from noticing what the other parts of the domain are?

What distinguishes one from the other IS which domain they belong to.

Remember that all four domains are providing us with different views of the same thing. Like with turtles, it’s KTAD all the way down!

Conceptualizing IS Understanding, when considered as an internal process instead of an external one.

Learning IS Conceiving, when considered as an external process instead of an internal one.

Memory IS Conceptualizing, when considered as an internal state instead of an internal process.

Etc, etc.

There’s nothing magic about dramatica terminology. We simply use different words for “conceptualizing” and “understanding” to reflect the way each domain colors its respective set of elements.

If the distinction between domains feels somewhat artificial, that’s because it is.

When you go to the library to read up on snail biology, are you gathering information, or are you conceiving?

Simple: you’re doing both at once.

In life, we experience problems as states and processes simultaneously, just as we experience space and time blent together as one continuous thing. However, when we wish to understand and account for our experiences (as we do in narrative) we find that we can only focus on one aspect of that experience at a time. Thus, to get a “complete” conscious picture of our circumstances, we must consider each aspect separately and in sequence.

Dramatica reflects this need by splitting human experience into four domains along two axes: internal-external, and state-process.

It is only when considered together that they capture the totality of any real experience we have in the world.

Hope that helps.


Thanks. I didn’t like the term “developing a plan”. I guess I just have to rely on which context is it in. Understanding is such a mental process, though.

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When I think of a problem of understanding I think of more of the physical comedy or challenge of say, spying on someone and misinterpreting the context. When I think of a problem of conceptualising I think of someone whose way of thinking, way of processing or assessing how something should be done is causing problems, perhaps their assessment is too reliant on their emotional sense or too reliant on logistical evaluations, rather than faulty sensory input which would be a problem of understanding.

This could be way off the mark but it’s a subtle ‘the same but different’ shift in my mind.


Use “developing a plan” untiil it doesn’t help and then replace it with “conceptualizing” and see how that does.

I find it easier to grok these terms if you attach conflict to them. Why is conceptualizing a problem? It’s truer than just asknig what conceptualizing is.

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Conceptualizing is usually associated in some way with visualizing, envisioning, imagining, scheming, “seeing” how things are are put together, and the problems that arise from this process.

This is different from problems that arise from misunderstandings, or failing to understand.

I find it’s often easier to see the distinction by contrasting it to the dynamic pair of the domain. In Knives Out everyone has problems coming from their scheming and how they imagine themselves and their roles in the family (OS), while Marta and Harlan have a mutual understanding that is the heart of their relationship (RS).

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