accurately weighing objects?

edited September 2016 in Everything else
Ok so if you were to pick up an anvil, you would know that it weighs more than a 1kg bag of sugar because you remember what that bag felt like, and you can compare the weight of the anvil to the memory of the sugar. So my question is, would it be possible to refine that skill, and teach yourself to think "ok it weighs more than 5g, but less than 10g, so it must be around 7.5g". I imagine this would involve a bunch of test weights to memorise, probably using some fancy mind palace or something. Do you guys think this is possible?


  • The same way some people get an incredible eye for measurements (I know a cabinet maker who calls out lengths of wood down to the half inch by sight :o), easily justifiable to say that this is possible. I would not be surprised if it took years though. :s
  • Learn to cook. Even after just a few month, measuring to the half gram or less, by feel, is possible.

  • I can say most definitely it is possible both my father and I are capable of telling the weight of a fish we catch within half a pound and maximum of 10lbs. We don't catch much heavier since its fresh water largemouth bass.

    It doesn't take nearly as long as you think it would but it is a perishable skill. If you don't use it regularly you will start to lose it.
  • Definitely possible, I have a very good eye for spatial geometry myself (length, width, area, curvature and relative height), acquired from ~5 years as a professional stoneworker/paver (laying concrete and stone tiles & stone paving, building stone stairs walls etc). Also, I used to deal in illicit substances for a time and from that I can usually approximate weight down to +/- 1 gram from visual approximation measurement of either just volume (for various types of powder aswell as pressed plant matter) assuming they're dry and supplemented with a quick tactile measurement if not.

    Note: I am not a scientist, and although I've read (understood) more books about science than the average person does in a lifetime (not exaggerating or bragging, merely stating fact, meant to be used by the reader as a gauge of the accuracy of the data below), and the brains of biological creatures are among my favorite subjects. Thus I have tried to give you both personal experience, but with as much perspective as possible with regards to actual mechanisms involved. You'll also notice I don't always use the accepted scientific terminology, usually to provide a more on-point message. Hope that's okay.

    Well, thats that, let's continue:

    The trick is to give your brain context, always as your'e in the basic learning stage and as often (and detailed/precise!) as possible after that. With regards to weight I would recommend you start small, and using one or two weights only at first (I would suggest 5 and 10 grams).

    It's also important that you avoid measuring the exact same things every time as this will decrease your brains tendency to keep recruiting new neurons to help with this (instead triggering an optimising process which in this case would  increase accuracy but also let your range deteriorate, which will happen alot quicker than the increase.

    Get a 10$ scale from eBay or whatever and use it to prepare numerous practice weights from different materials, most importantly make sure volume and geometry is as varied as possible while still trying to use (at least at first) objects where logical inference is still possible to some degree; Like weighing quantities of nails, cigarettes, usb cables of uniform length, dvd discs batteries etc, things that are inherently uniform in some way, and make an effort to notice those patterns, counting and calculating as much about them as you can, rather than using fistfuls of dirt or cooking ingredients, bundles of keys etc that aren't so easy to create well-parsed "meta-data" about. 

    If you are going to use the cooking route, try the above a little while first as I believe this will give you an advantage when using this faculty later on in your daily life. Cooking and such specific tasks using this faculty will likely be recruited from/into sub-sections activated when task is at hand (making it far more challenging to make it "second nature").

    Regards //M
Sign In or Register to comment.