A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 1

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

Here is an article Beeblefish found http://ryanandrewlangdon.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/today-i-learned-that-not-everyone-has-an-internal-monologue-and-it-has-ruined-my-day/

I have an internal monologue, and often wondereed about it - I know it is my inner voice, not like hearing voices, but didn't know that other people have similar things so this article was very reassuring!

My inner voice gives rise to conversations in my head between the sort of instinctive voice, that says random stuff about what I'm looking at, and the sort of reasoning voice, that decides whether what the instinctive voice said was reasonable or not so I can choose what to do next.


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 2

Baron Grim


I was also amazed to recently learn that a small portion of humans don't have this inner voice. (This has gone viral recently.)

My inner monologue is often my nemesis. I wonder if those folks who do not have an inner monologue suffer from depression as much as those that do. Rumination is one of the worst parts of my depression. I'll obsess about things with my inner monologue analyzing situations, telling me how horribly I handled things, hypothesizing on the motivations and actions of others, positing conspiracy theories about how everyone must dislike me, predicting a dire future mired in loneliness and self loathing.

I'm only beginning to experience short periods of mental quietude through simple meditation, but it doesn't last long.


I wonder if those with "no" inner monologue" are, in some way, more "right brained" than those with. Our right and left brains are very different with the left in charge of speech. When the connection between the two hemispheres is severed, the hemispheres act independently in curious ways. This is also mindblowing.

http://youtu.be/wfYbgdo8e-8


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 3

Bluebottle

I suspect my internal monologue has much more fun than I do…

<BB<


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 4

Orcus

Interesting. Not sure whether I do this or not.... my feeling is not. An outright internal conversation with myself In my head? That's what this means? No definitely not.

I didn't know some people did! Though occasionally things I'm thinking in my head about past - embarrassing situations do come out verbally - which is embarrassing. Though when I do that in front of my wife her response has been 'you're not supposed to do that in public'. So clearly I'm not alone there.


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 5

Baron Grim

Yay! We got folks from both sides so we can ask really weird questions of each other.


So, Orcus, when you read or write, do you not "hear" the words? I do. I almost have to.

That said, I did once see an animated meme about speed reading that had a small box with text passing through it too quickly to mentally narrate, yet I still understood it. I'm not a quick reader. If I try to "speed read" (no training) my eyes constantly end up scanning back to re-read words my inner narration skipped trying to keep up. Yet with that limiting window, I had no problem.

Brains are weird.


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 6

Orcus

No, I just think words. No need for mentally hearing them.


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 7

Baron Grim

See!? That's what's so weird about this. I don't even understand what that means. I also just "think words", but my brain is reading them out. Is it a visual, written "thinking" or just conceptual?


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 8

Bluebottle

I once asked a work colleague who had lived in Germany until she was about 18 and has since lived in the UK for over 20 years what language she thought in. She gave me a look.

<BB<


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 9

Bald Bloke

Not the same thing... but related?
A danish friend once said she knew she had been in the UK too long when she started dreaming in English.
There are also aparently people who can see numbers when doing calculations smiley - erm

I certainly have an inner voice, I don't think I could write or type without using it to slow my thoughts down to the speed of my fingers.

[BB]


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 10

paulh. the world is a circus, but why d I have to work without a net?

My inner voice talks about possible future paths that I know I would never take.

i sometimes do see numbers when I'm making mental calculations. I pride myself on knowing how much change the cashier will hand back to me before the cash register figures it out.

I also hear original pieces of music in my mind's ear.

I attribute it all to my refusal to follow those trendy diets like Atkins, Paleo, low-fat, etc. smiley - biggrin I like Julia Child's observation that most doctors think it's okay to eat a little of everything. smiley - smiley

(No, I don't seriously think I can attribute anything to my diet. Except that I'm still here, so I've apparently been eaitng enough for 71 years smiley - biggrin And apparently thinking a bit as well. smiley - winkeye)


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 11

Bald Bloke

I don't see numbers when doing a calculation,
but I do get the inventing music in my head...
Trouble is my lack of musical ability means I could never reproduce it IRL.


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 12

Baron Grim

Sometimes I'm surprised by the amount of detail I can "hear" music in my head; particularly highly intricate songs like The Beatles' Blue Jay Way. I had not actually listened to Blue Jay Way in years when I started "playing" it in my head when I was having a bit of insomnia. It's a great internal lullaby. The more details I notice, the less my internal monologue keeps me awake.


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 13

Orcus

>See!? That's what's so weird about this. I don't even understand what that means. I also just "think words", but my brain is reading them out. Is it a visual, written "thinking" or just conceptual?<

Well I double that with not really knowing what you mean. I have to wonder a little if we're not so different in that we are just seeing the same thing and *thinking* we're different.
But maybe not!

I don't see numbers nor hear music in my head either. I just tried 'playing' the Blue Danube in my head. I know how it goes, but they were just imaginary notes, no actual sound playing in my head. Just my imagination of it.

I am extremely hard to beat at maths though smiley - evilgrin so not seeing numbers or letters or equations in my head doesn't stop me having a rare flare for solving maths stuff.
(we've all been here a long time, so you probably know I'm a professional academic scientist by trade - it comes with the territory - without wanting to blow my own trumpet - I just think it's interesting that even though I'm not visualising things in a literal way in my head, I can still do it. I don't even know how my brain works to do such things - I just 'see' how things work - although trying things out on a piece of paper is often essential).


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 14

Baron Grim

Could be. It isn't exactly like hearing actual music in my head, or hearing my (or others' voices). There is just a little bit of the intention but not the motion of the muscles of my jaw, mouth, & tongue forming words, just not actually doing it, just feeling the idea of them moving.

An inner monologue can't "scream", for example. It's pitch can change, but not the "volume" as there isn't any particular volume. But I am thinking of the sound of words.


When I was a kid, I remember having a little bit of synesthesia. Certain numbers were different colors. But I suspect that may have been an association formed from a primer. I remember also a teacher chiding me in kindergarten for coloring a bunny the "wrong" color. I used a blue crayon. She asked, "have you ever seen a blue bunny rabbit?". Well, to be honest I'd never seen any actual bunny rabbits, but the one in my favorite book (might have been The Velveteen Rabbit, but maybe not) WAS BLUE!. I didn't tell her that. Instead I just sat there feeling shame.


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 15

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

Very interesting indeed!

Thanks for that video, Baron Grim - that was rather mindblowing... Helps to explain things like absent-mindedly twiddling one's thumbs or whatever, too...

Solidarity - my inner monologue is often more unhelpful than helpful, eg in job interviews A87938185 - sometimes I can hardly speak because the monologue criticises what I'm saying as I'm saying it... The voice has a lot to say about food, too, as I can recite lines from magazines etc that I've read, but then in response I can recite wise words like paulh says, so it can take a while to work through the dialogue when I'm hungry...

I find birdwatching soothes the voice, as does concentrating on something like craft or writing Entries for h2g2, so I manage to keep depression at bay, but it sometimes takes conscious effort.

'Earworms' are examples of the inner monologue, too, yes - the music plays in my head when I get one smiley - ok

"I just 'see' how things work - although trying things out on a piece of paper is often essential" - smiley - ok I can visualise and manipulate numbers in my head to a certain extent, but I prefer the piece of paper for maths myself.

"There is just a little bit of the intention but not the motion of the muscles of my jaw, mouth, & tongue forming words, just not actually doing it, just feeling the idea of them moving." - I understand that, yes - I have a bit of synaesthesia that I can sort of taste some words, even in my head, and that could well be because I know the texture of saying the words even when I'm not physically saying them smiley - ok


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 16

paulh. the world is a circus, but why d I have to work without a net?

The minds of different people work differently. Nothing wrong with that. The brightest minds of 50,000 years could remember everything they needed to know. Nowadays, we leverage our brains' capacity by recording words and figures on paper, and remembering how audio and video recordings sound.

each of the senses has a memory component. We live in a good time t be alive. smiley - ok. We don't *need* to have an internal monologue any more. If we want to hear something or read something, we can say it or write it out or maybe find a printed or recorded version. But our distant ancestors were ahead of the game if their minds could hear or see these things. smiley - smiley


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 17

Hoovooloo

If you haven't already read it, I highly recommend "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes.

It really is one of the top ten books I've ever read in my life. You don't need to agree with its thesis to have your mind expanded by it. (Aside: if you've read "Snow Crash" by Neil Stephenson, you've had a primer on bicameral mind theory AND seen at least one of the illustrations from Jaynes' book...)


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 18

Hoovooloo

" Nowadays, we leverage our brains' capacity by recording words and figures on paper"

Jaynes' theory is that by inventing this way of solidly recording thoughts, it literally changed the way humans' brains work. His position is that consciousness - and he regards internal monologue as an indicator of this, so I've no idea what he'd make of people who don't have one at all - developed only recently. Prior to this the human species, although capable of speech and the construction of advanced tools, architecture, machines and so on, were in a sense unconscious automata, driven by voices in their heads that were perceived as the voices of ancestors or gods or both. It makes a lot of ancient literature (the Bible included) make a LOT more sense if you consider the possibility that the people who wrote it (or at least the people who are the main characters in a lot of it) could literally hear their god speaking to them, and had no inner life of their own as such. In particular, he bases a lot of his argument on the observable differences between how the Iliad and the Odyssey are written. The former, earlier work depicts characters with no inner life as such, whereas the second, later work has a qualitatively different impression of what it is to be human.


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 19

logicus tracticus philosophicus

Mind you, my internal monologue when composing poetry often will sound much better than when it is me that is performing the work I have just written....


Do you have an internal monologue?

Post 20

Bluebottle

All the things to say in your head still sound really good in your head, where you don't have to do inconvenient things like breathe or be interrupted by someone else wanting to talk and not listen and you don't stutter or have a voice crack etc.

<BB<


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