32 votes

People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory

40 comments

  1. vili
    Link
    In addition to the lack of an inner voice seemingly affecting performance in verbal memory tasks, I found this suggestion quite interesting: "there is one field where we suspect that having an...

    In addition to the lack of an inner voice seemingly affecting performance in verbal memory tasks, I found this suggestion quite interesting: "there is one field where we suspect that having an inner voice plays a role, and that is therapy; in the widely used cognitive behavioural therapy, for example, you need to identify and change adverse thought patterns, and having an inner voice may be very important in such a process. However, it is still uncertain whether differences in the experience of an inner voice are related to how people respond to different types of therapy".

    19 votes
  2. [4]
    RoyalHenOil
    (edited )
    Link
    I do not have an inner monologue (at least not without deliberate effort on my part, and it comes at the cost of slower thinking and drastically reduced thought complexity), and I am entirely not...

    I do not have an inner monologue (at least not without deliberate effort on my part, and it comes at the cost of slower thinking and drastically reduced thought complexity), and I am entirely not surprised by this finding. I very commonly forget words, even words I use pretty often, and I in general seem to misspeak and blank out frequently while trying to verbalize my thoughts.

    I am also fairly slow to understand people when they are talking to me. I need extra time to translate speech into conceptual thought. The translation is also often incorrect because verbal language is so much less expressive than direct concepts, and so it leaves a lot of ambiguity that I have to take educated guesses at (although this, I suspect, actually affects everyone — seeing as how common miscommunication is — but I think I am more aware of it because I am directly confronted with it every time I have a conversation with someone).

    However, I have no trouble recalling words I have memorized by rote, such as song lyrics, which makes me think that this is a very different mechanism from the kind of word recall that is used in dynamic speech. I will regularly forget the names of my coworkers I've worked with for years, but I never forget any of the 50 US states in alphabetical order.

    Also, I have a strong grasp of grammar, and I can become fluent in new languages' grammatical structures very quickly. It's only vocabulary where I get bogged down.

    ...investigate whether the lack of an inner voice, or anendophasia as they have coined the condition, has any consequences for how these people solve problems...

    Based on my experiences, I think this article has the direction of causality wrong. At least in my case, I am quite sure that my poor word recall causes me to avoid verbal thinking, whereas this article seems to imply that the lack of verbal thinking causes the poor word recall.

    “The short answer is that we just don't know because we have only just begun to study it. But there is one field where we suspect that having an inner voice plays a role, and that is therapy; in the widely used cognitive behavioural therapy, for example, you need to identify and change adverse thought patterns, and having an inner voice may be very important in such a process. However, it is still uncertain whether differences in the experience of an inner voice are related to how people respond to different types of therapy”...

    I strongly suspect that one-on-one therapy would work as well for me as it would for someone with an inner monologue who is otherwise my equivalent. Where I would get lost and fall behind is group therapy.

    I am perfectly capable of deep self-reflection (in fact, I think I am unusually good at it), I am reasonably OK at converting my thought into words (I just tend to be overly wordy because my thoughts are so much richer than verbal language can elegantly convey), and I can generally keep up in one-on-one conversations where the other speaker allows for pauses while I gather my thoughts. What I can't do is follow along with conversations between multiple people because they almost inevitably fill in the silences and don't leave me enough time to process their words, so I quickly lose the thread and zone out.

    17 votes
    1. [3]
      nosewings
      Link Parent
      My overall life experience is extremely similar to yours. I have an intellectually-demanding job, and not being able to follow discussions is incredibly frustrating. I have trouble even paying...

      My overall life experience is extremely similar to yours.

      I have an intellectually-demanding job, and not being able to follow discussions is incredibly frustrating. I have trouble even paying attention because I feel like it's pointless to try to absorb it, and like I won't learn anything until I go home and think through things on my own.

      I've long suspected that I have something like cognitive disengagement syndrome (previously called "sluggish cognitive tempo").

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        nerb
        Link Parent
        I 100% have anendophasia. The coping mechanism that I learned for this was aggressive note-taking. In meetings I take a notebook and write down every topic and conversation item that's mentioned...

        I 100% have anendophasia. The coping mechanism that I learned for this was aggressive note-taking. In meetings I take a notebook and write down every topic and conversation item that's mentioned (sometimes I draw arrows linking sections). It was a lifesaver for managing college seminar and discussion courses and I could go back to those notes later and figure out what happened in class.

        5 votes
        1. patience_limited
          Link Parent
          I have an inner voice, but horrible recall for spoken words. Maybe the inner voice is too loud to listen properly? I'll remember music and numbers near-perfectly, but like you, depend on extensive...

          I have an inner voice, but horrible recall for spoken words. Maybe the inner voice is too loud to listen properly?

          I'll remember music and numbers near-perfectly, but like you, depend on extensive note-taking for conversational information. I'll remember people's IP addresses before committing their names to memory unless I dedicate mnemonic effort.

          It would be a funny old world if we were all alike, but the variations on neurodivergence are just weird.

          1 vote
  3. [29]
    kovboydan
    Link
    That’s interesting. Like aphantasia, but with words not images.

    That’s interesting. Like aphantasia, but with words not images.

    5 votes
    1. [8]
      NomadicCoder
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I'm aphantasic (is that a word?) and when I read that headline I was wondering if there are people who experience both aphantasia and no inner voice, and if so, how do they think? EDIT: It seems...

      I'm aphantasic (is that a word?) and when I read that headline I was wondering if there are people who experience both aphantasia and no inner voice, and if so, how do they think?

      EDIT: It seems that for some the inner "voice" is actually heard, I definitely don't "hear" the voice, but do think in words. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the definition and I'm exactly the person I was asking about. :)

      EDIT 2: Though the article seems to indicate that my ongoing verbal conversation in my mind is considered an inner voice, though I guess I experience it differently than others. I'm curious, do others actually hear the words as if they're being spoken rather than just think the words?

      9 votes
      1. [3]
        Notcoffeetable
        Link Parent
        I think I am on the side of not "hearing" a voice, but rather recalling the mental fingerprint of what hearing the words is like. I feel like "inner dialogue/monologue" is more accurate for my...

        I think I am on the side of not "hearing" a voice, but rather recalling the mental fingerprint of what hearing the words is like. I feel like "inner dialogue/monologue" is more accurate for my experience. It can have accents and vocal stylings.

        A good example is a picture of Prof. Farnsworth from Futurama saying "good news everyone." I can recall his voice and inflection mentally but I wouldn't call it hearing except in the most colloquial sense.

        Similarly I can envision images vividly but I wouldn't say I "see" them. But I can recall colors, shapes, and relationships of those shapes and colors with each other.

        Interestingly my partner cannot do this visually. She can't for example bring up an image of an apple on a table. She also struggles with navigation, and watching her use a map is a bit painful as she orients maps in a way that doesn't relate to either her orientation nor cardinal directions.

        10 votes
        1. sparksbet
          Link Parent
          This is probably the description that comes closest to how I would describe my own experience, so I'm relieved to hear someone describe it so clearly.

          This is probably the description that comes closest to how I would describe my own experience, so I'm relieved to hear someone describe it so clearly.

          4 votes
        2. CptBluebear
          Link Parent
          Spatial awareness and visualisation are two separate skills.

          Spatial awareness and visualisation are two separate skills.

          1 vote
      2. blindmikey
        Link Parent
        For me it's like an "internal hear". It's not like I'm having auditory hallucinations. It's different from hearing with my ears. But I can identify that my internal voice is my own - I can change...

        For me it's like an "internal hear". It's not like I'm having auditory hallucinations. It's different from hearing with my ears. But I can identify that my internal voice is my own - I can change that though and say, read words in an accent or character voice, or in the voice of someone else - say a quote from an actor or what not.

        9 votes
      3. unkz
        Link Parent
        Yeah, it's literally a voice that I hear in my head. It's exactly like the one that I hear when I speak.

        I'm curious, do others actually hear the words as if they're being spoken rather than just think the words?

        Yeah, it's literally a voice that I hear in my head. It's exactly like the one that I hear when I speak.

        4 votes
      4. [2]
        Lev
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I'm like this, I neither think in words nor have much mental visualization ability. It's a strange exercise for me to describe my thought patterns because the process is so formless. I don't want...

        I'm like this, I neither think in words nor have much mental visualization ability. It's a strange exercise for me to describe my thought patterns because the process is so formless. I don't want to say that I'm fully guided by my sub-conscious, but it does feel like that sometimes. There's never any thought about what I'm going to say before I say it, the words very often just appear in my mouth (same with writing). In place of an internal monologue, there are sometimes concepts and ideas that flow gently into ordered thought. If I really need to think through something intellectually difficult, I always start talking about it out loud (even just to myself) because I can't really do it in my head. Following @RNG's principle about aphantasia mentioned elsewhere in the thread, maybe speaking thoughts aloud still counts as internal monologue. But I'm never aware that I'm thinking in words unless I'm explicitly speaking them aloud.

        One other note is that I've sometimes thought that I just have a lower thoughts per minute than many others due to my mental construction. No imagery and no words removes much of the abstraction from cognition. I think it makes it easier to live in the moment; there's just less to think about.

        2 votes
        1. RNG
          Link Parent
          This strongly maps onto my experience as well, and is an insight that can be gained in meditation. Just sit, and focus on your breath. Try to clear your mind of thoughts and focus on breathing...

          I don't want to say that I'm fully guided by my sub-conscious, but it does feel like that sometimes. There's never any thought about what I'm going to say before I say it, the words very often just appear in my mouth (same with writing). In place of an internal monologue, there are sometimes concepts and ideas that flow gently into ordered thought.

          This strongly maps onto my experience as well, and is an insight that can be gained in meditation. Just sit, and focus on your breath. Try to clear your mind of thoughts and focus on breathing (just because it's an experience that's easy to pay attention to.) One thing you'll notice quickly is that thoughts will keep interrupting this task: arguments with your coworkers, plans for later in the day, etc. "God, I should've said this instead of that." Or "I can't believe they said that."

          Eventually, you will will go "oh fuck" and remember you were supposed to be meditating. You'll focus, but will be interrupted again and again. You'll get better though; meditation is like a muscle and this is your first day at the gym, it takes awhile to see gains. But eventually, you will notice this... voice? attempting to interrupt your concentration and you will be able to set it aside without being swept up and carried away by it. You can notice that this... thing (voice?) doesn't appear to be numerically identical to "you", but something that happens to you. At the base, all there seems to be is experience. This is what causes some to view the self as illusory.

          If I really need to think through something intellectually difficult, I always start talking about it out loud (even just to myself) because I can't really do it in my head.

          I do exactly this, especially when wrestling with new concepts and trying to make sense of them.

          3 votes
    2. RoyalHenOil
      Link Parent
      I do not have an inner voice or an inner monologue. However, I don't think it's quite like aphantasia because that seems to refer to an inability to imagine visual thoughts at all. I can verbalize...

      I do not have an inner voice or an inner monologue. However, I don't think it's quite like aphantasia because that seems to refer to an inability to imagine visual thoughts at all.

      I can verbalize my thoughts. I just don't do it natively. I can do it voluntarily with some effort, but it interferes with my ability to think quickly or clearly because it requires mental multitasking.

      5 votes
    3. [19]
      RNG
      Link Parent
      I've been a "aphantasia" agnostic for some time now, because the condition just doesn't seem intelligible to me. Can an aphantasic remember a color? It seems that they could not; they may find a...

      I've been a "aphantasia" agnostic for some time now, because the condition just doesn't seem intelligible to me.

      Can an aphantasic remember a color? It seems that they could not; they may find a color familiar upon observing it again, but remembering a color seems to be identical phenomenologically to imagining it. Can an aphantasic not remember redness? Can they not remember the shape of an object?

      Being able to remember a qualitative experience is just what we mean by "imagining" it. I can remember what "orange" looks like, but I cannot "remember" some color I've never seen before. And if one cannot imagine colors, it seems entailed that they couldn't remember what they look like, just the same way that I cannot imagine (or obviously remember) what some color I've never seen before would look like.

      4 votes
      1. [8]
        sparksbet
        Link Parent
        It's perfectly possible that people with aphantasia can remember the facts of these things but not imagine them in their head in the same way as you or me. As a parallel, I think verbally and I...

        It's perfectly possible that people with aphantasia can remember the facts of these things but not imagine them in their head in the same way as you or me. As a parallel, I think verbally and I remember how words in English are spelled, but I don't picture the spelling of a given word in my head unless I consciously bring that to mind. I don't need to do that to remember how those words are spelled.

        But someone who actually has aphantasia would need to answer more about how their qualitative experience goes.

        5 votes
        1. [7]
          RNG
          Link Parent
          This seems disanalogous. A word is information, and this information is comprised of elements and can be broken down into its constituent parts and can be represented in a number of mediums. The...

          It's perfectly possible that people with aphantasia can remember the facts of these things but not imagine them in their head in the same way as you or me. As a parallel, I think verbally and I remember how words in English are spelled, but I don't picture the spelling of a given word in my head unless I consciously bring that to mind.

          This seems disanalogous. A word is information, and this information is comprised of elements and can be broken down into its constituent parts and can be represented in a number of mediums. The redness of a red experience is simple and isn't comprised of constituent elements that could be remembered without remembering the experience itself. Either one can remember the experience of red and orange or they can't, and I'd think an aphantasic could not remember either, because if they could, that would just be what we mean by imagining colors.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            CptBluebear
            Link Parent
            I can conceptually understand colours even if I can't visually imagine them. Red as a colour doesn't disappear from memory as soon as I stop looking at it.

            I can conceptually understand colours even if I can't visually imagine them. Red as a colour doesn't disappear from memory as soon as I stop looking at it.

            6 votes
            1. RNG
              Link Parent
              Sure, I can remember facts about colors without picturing them. I can know that apples are red and that red is spelt R-E-D without picturing red. I can remember where it sits on a color wheel or...

              Sure, I can remember facts about colors without picturing them. I can know that apples are red and that red is spelt R-E-D without picturing red. I can remember where it sits on a color wheel or on a red to violet spectrum.

              Tautologically, I cannot remember what it is like to experience redness, without remembering the experience of redness, which is just what we mean by imagining redness.

              3 votes
          2. [4]
            sparksbet
            Link Parent
            I think you're making assumptions that equate remembering a particular qualia with re-experiencing it. While I understand making this connection, I don't think there's sufficient basis to assume...

            I think you're making assumptions that equate remembering a particular qualia with re-experiencing it. While I understand making this connection, I don't think there's sufficient basis to assume they are necessarily the same thing.

            3 votes
            1. [3]
              RNG
              Link Parent
              What could one remember about qualia that doesn't include the experience itself? The experience is all there is. If what one remembers about qualia doesn't include experience, then there's nothing...

              I think you're making assumptions that equate remembering a particular qualia with re-experiencing it. While I understand making this connection, I don't think there's sufficient basis to assume they are necessarily the same thing.

              What could one remember about qualia that doesn't include the experience itself? The experience is all there is. If what one remembers about qualia doesn't include experience, then there's nothing left; that's all qualia are.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                RoyalHenOil
                Link Parent
                The way my mind works, I can compartmentalize memories and only retrieve details as needed. For example, I can imagine the concept of redness, including aspects of its qualia, without generating...

                The way my mind works, I can compartmentalize memories and only retrieve details as needed. For example, I can imagine the concept of redness, including aspects of its qualia, without generating the full array of experiences of red that I have ever had. I can choose which experiences to black box and which to delve into, as well as how deeply to delve.

                I'm not actually sure how thought could work any other way. Let's say you want to taste test a soup to see if it needs more salt. If imagining what the soup is supposed to taste is a full qualia experience, wouldn't that displace the actual experience of your under-salted soup? For me, I can keep both experiences in my head simultaneously by dampening the imaginary experience and focusing only on the specific aspects of it that I need (such as its saltiness specifically).

                Or let's say you want to retrieve a happy childhood memory to reminisce on. How do you sort through your memories to pick out the one you want if you cannot think about your experiences in the abstract?

                1 vote
                1. RNG
                  Link Parent
                  It's not my view that remembering or imagining redness is identical to experiencing redness, these seem like distinct experiences to me. I can hold the redness of red experience in my mind, but...

                  It's not my view that remembering or imagining redness is identical to experiencing redness, these seem like distinct experiences to me. I can hold the redness of red experience in my mind, but that's different from looking at a red object with my eyes.

                  What I am saying is that remembering redness is the same sort of experience as imagining redness, and I think to some degree how one imagines things is necessarily informed by memories. A congenital deaf person cannot imagine sound, a colorblind person cannot imagine colors for which they lack cones, etc.

                  1 vote
      2. [10]
        kovboydan
        Link Parent
        Maybe thinking of creation rather than recollection would help. When you read a work of fiction, Fleet of Worlds or something, and a character or place is described, do you ever imagine what the...

        Maybe thinking of creation rather than recollection would help.

        When you read a work of fiction, Fleet of Worlds or something, and a character or place is described, do you ever imagine what the people or places described and “see” them in your mind?

        Or do you just skim the sentences about what Puppeteers look like because you can’t visualize anything in your mind and knowing the facts of their fictional physiology is sufficient?

        1. [9]
          RNG
          Link Parent
          I think creation is actually something like a recombination of experiences that can be remembered. A work of fiction will describe a fictional thing as a composite of experiences the reader has...

          Maybe thinking of creation rather than recollection would help.

          I think creation is actually something like a recombination of experiences that can be remembered. A work of fiction will describe a fictional thing as a composite of experiences the reader has likely had experience with.

          But let's imagine a book that talked about a house that's color you've never come across, let's call it flazzle. Can you imagine a house who's color you've never seen before? No, one cannot imagine a flazzle-colored house the same way one can imagine a house that is white with orange trim.

          Similarly, imagine someone lacking the cones in their eyes for seeing blue. They could never be taught or learn about blueness from a book, fictional or not. If the cones could be restored, only then could they ever understand "blueness" and be capable of remembering this experience in a way that makes sense of descriptions in books of blue objects.

          1 vote
          1. [5]
            kovboydan
            Link Parent
            I can’t visualize - form a mental image of; imagine - a house of any color. I can imagine - form a mental image or concept of - a house of any color. If you can visualize - form a mental image of...

            Can you imagine a house who's color you've never seen before?

            I can’t visualize - form a mental image of; imagine - a house of any color. I can imagine - form a mental image or concept of - a house of any color.

            If you can visualize - form a mental image of - a cat riding a surfboard while wearing a tuxedo, then imagine - form a mental concept of - not being able to visualize a cat riding a surfboard while wearing a tuxedo.

            Even though you know what those things are, would recognize them if you actually saw them, understand that the composite image would be funny if you saw it, can remember how uncomfortable tuxedos are, the feeling of a petting a cat, and have seen Point Break a few dozen times.

            It’s really not that complicated.

            1 vote
            1. [4]
              RNG
              Link Parent
              I think holding a mental concept of, say, a red house is just what people mean (and certainly what I mean) by "imagining" a house. It isn't an identical experience to seeing a red house, it's just...

              I can’t visualize - form a mental image of; imagine - a house of any color. I can imagine - form a mental image or concept of - a house of any color

              I think holding a mental concept of, say, a red house is just what people mean (and certainly what I mean) by "imagining" a house. It isn't an identical experience to seeing a red house, it's just having this mental pattern you can hold and manipulate in your mind. I can make this house white with orange trim and know what that would look like, but it's not identical experientially to actually seeing it.

              2 votes
              1. [3]
                kovboydan
                Link Parent
                So you have limited or no mental visual imagery and assume that everyone else is the same? Or you do have mental visual imagery and you're trying to have a philosophical discussion, while the rest...

                So you have limited or no mental visual imagery and assume that everyone else is the same?

                Or you do have mental visual imagery and you're trying to have a philosophical discussion, while the rest of us are talking about a concept with neurophysiological studies and research into the neural substrates of visual imagery not Meditations on First Philosophy.

                No malice, but this really is not complicated.

                1. [2]
                  RNG
                  Link Parent
                  What I've been aiming for is the fact that I can't comprehend how aphantasia could even exist without profoundly wacky implications. I can hold the concept of a white house with orange trim in my...

                  What I've been aiming for is the fact that I can't comprehend how aphantasia could even exist without profoundly wacky implications.

                  So you have limited or no mental visual imagery and assume that everyone else is the same?

                  I can hold the concept of a white house with orange trim in my mind. I can change the colors, and I have a pretty good idea of how it would look if I drew it and what colors are going to work better than others by trying them out in my mental model. This is what I have been saying is "imagining" stuff, mental modeling. Perhaps everyone else can see the house just as if they saw it with their eyeballs, and I am a aphantasic, which while possible feels unlikely to me. It's also unclear to me what dreaming would mean for an aphantasic.

                  It doesn't seem like you could have less than what I have and be able to know even the basics of what things would look like prior to them existing.

                  Or you do have mental visual imagery and you're trying to have a philosophical discussion, while the rest of us are talking about a concept with neurophysiological studies and research into the neural substrates of visual imagery not Meditations on First Philosophy.

                  All I've been doing is explaining why I am an aphantasia agnostic, not writing a philosophical treatise lol. I'm not well read on neurology either, though I can't find examples of any studies from a neurological perspective, which could shift my view (say, if self-described aphantasics had parts of their brain light up when others didn't.) Looks like the studies performed are just asking people what they experience, and there isn't much. The earliest studies on aphantasia are from 2015 which is quite recent.

                  No malice, but this really is not complicated.

                  Maybe I'm dumb, but it seems complicated to me. This is a discussion about events that are not publicly observable, so it seems like there's room for folks to have greatly differing interpretations on what "no mental imagery" looks like, which may explain why people could be mistaken about their aphantasia.

                  1 vote
                  1. kovboydan
                    Link Parent
                    Missing the forest for the trees maybe, but certainly not dumb. The “term” was coined circa 2015, but related research, documentation, and discussion goes back much, much further, e.g. the...

                    Missing the forest for the trees maybe, but certainly not dumb.

                    The “term” was coined circa 2015, but related research, documentation, and discussion goes back much, much further, e.g. the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ) was developed in 1973 by the British psychologist David Marks. And fMRI studies in the links do generally seem to support the notion that there is an observable difference in brain function between highly vivid and not vivid brains.

                    Assorted related thoughts:

                    1. It’s 2024, I thought we’d all agreed that brains are weird and differ between individuals.

                    2. The term “ADHD” is modern, but the first example of a disorder that appears to be similar to ADHD was given by Sir Alexander Crichton in 1798:

                    The incapacity of attending with a necessary degree of constancy to any one object, almost always arises from an unnatural or morbid sensibility of the nerves, by which means this faculty is incessantly withdrawn from one impression to another. It may be either born with a person, or it may be the effect of accidental diseases.

                    Similarly, sadomasochism as a term didn’t exist as a term until recently, because the works of Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch didn’t exist until recently, but the earliest descriptions of it go back to ancient Egypt and Rome.

                    1 vote
          2. [3]
            RoyalHenOil
            Link Parent
            I actually can do this by some definition, so long as there is a visual description of flazzle that has something in common with colors I have experienced before. To give you the idea, I can...

            Can you imagine a house who's color you've never seen before? No, one cannot imagine a flazzle-colored house the same way one can imagine a house that is white with orange trim.

            I actually can do this by some definition, so long as there is a visual description of flazzle that has something in common with colors I have experienced before.

            To give you the idea, I can imagine impossible colors (such as teal-yellow, red-green, or glowing black). These are colors I have never seen, and can never see, and yet I can conjure what my experience of these colors would be. I am not entirely sure how this is possible, but I suspect that I am willfully triggering multiple color-related neurons that don't normally have the opportunity to fire together when I look at colors in real life. Imagining impossible colors is about as easy for me as imagining anything else I have never seen, such as a blue apple or a six-legged bird.

            What I can't do is imagine colors that are radically unlike my previous experiences. For example, I couldn't begin to imagine what a fourth primary color (besides red, green, and blue) would look like, assuming that it would be a unique color that would synergize in completely new ways with the other colors (e.g., the way that red light and green light produce the experience of yellow, which to me looks wholly unlike its parent colors).

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              RNG
              Link Parent
              Are you saying you can imagine color experiences that would be impossible to have in the real world? That seems incomprehensible to me, for each color experience I imagine from the descriptions...

              To give you the idea, I can imagine impossible colors (such as teal-yellow, red-green, or glowing black)

              Are you saying you can imagine color experiences that would be impossible to have in the real world? That seems incomprehensible to me, for each color experience I imagine from the descriptions you gave, I imagine I could have that experience shown on a computer for instance. I can't imagine impossible colors any more than I can imagine square circles.

              1. RoyalHenOil
                Link Parent
                Yes, that is what I am saying. However, it is worth noting that imagining an experience is very different from actually having that experience. I do not have photographic memory. Outside of...

                Yes, that is what I am saying.

                However, it is worth noting that imagining an experience is very different from actually having that experience. I do not have photographic memory. Outside of dreaming, I never imagine some scene in my head and then get confused about whether it is real or not; I can always tell when an image is coming from my eyes or when I'm just making it up. I don't find it any easier to imagine something with my eyes closed than with my eyes open because it is not entirely a visual experience for me — it's more conceptual and feeling-based than that.

                Note, I can also imagine something you might describe as kind of like a square circle. Specifically, I am imagining a hemispherical square, a little like what you would get if you stretched a square over a globe, such that the edges formed both a square and a circle (I can't imagine the square-circle edges with the bowl shape in the middle, however; my brain is very stuck on the idea that that's the only way to achieve both a square and a circle).

                That being said, there are geometrical concepts I can't even begin to imagine, such as a fourth spatial dimension; it's just way too far outside of my experience. However, I have experienced both circles and squares, and I have experienced objects that are reminiscent of both, and so I think my brain is just triggering these experiences simultaneously — not too dissimilar to what happens when I'm dreaming and I imagine impossible connections between things.

  4. [6]
    Baeocystin
    Link
    I don't have an inner voice. That doesn't mean I'm not constantly thinking, or have trouble with words. It's just that I only word when it's time to word; otherwise, words are an unnecessary step...

    I don't have an inner voice. That doesn't mean I'm not constantly thinking, or have trouble with words. It's just that I only word when it's time to word; otherwise, words are an unnecessary step that slow things down.

    It is (IMO) exactly like the subvocalizing when reading- once you realize that you don't have to, your reading speed can increase dramatically. The same realization applies to inner speech. Why form words when you can think in concepts, many of which don't have analogous words? Form your thoughts, play around at the level of ideas, and when it's time to communicate, that's when you smoosh things in to shape with shared language. Until then (again, IMO) you're artificially limiting yourself.

    3 votes
    1. PossiblyBipedal
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I do both or all of them. I've always thought that that was the norm. I have an inner voice but I also often have thoughts in concepts without voice. I can see images in my brain but sometimes it...

      I do both or all of them. I've always thought that that was the norm.

      I have an inner voice but I also often have thoughts in concepts without voice. I can see images in my brain but sometimes it doesn't happen.

      I do think that thinking in concepts is a lot faster. What sometimes happens when I'm talking to myself in my head is that the voice would give up and say "you know". And I do know. Because I'm thinking in concepts and the verbal portion couldn't catch up and gave up speaking.

      So I've always kind of thought that kind of a messy mix of brain processing was the norm. Rather than whether you hear voices or you don't. Whether you think in concepts or you don't.

      Which is hard for me to truly understand. But that's the whole point isn't it. We find it hard to understand how others process thoughts differently unless we're them.

      The article does make it same like there's a gradient. Rather than with or without though.

      But I'm still terrible at remembering words.

      5 votes
    2. [4]
      teaearlgraycold
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think it's too late for me. Attempting to perform significant amounts of thinking without looping the thoughts through English would be like trying to walk without using my muscles. I can think...

      I think it's too late for me. Attempting to perform significant amounts of thinking without looping the thoughts through English would be like trying to walk without using my muscles.

      I can think without using an inner voice, but the train of thought peters out quickly without canonicalizing the thoughts through English.

      There are two working modes of operation:

      1. Alternating spurts of pure thought followed by translation to English (essentially writing back over my short-term and working memory with the English, this is then what would be recalled as needed).
      2. A streamlined pure thought-to-English pipeline where I'm able to stream-of-consciousness speak my thoughts. Often after a sprint of this (lasting at most a minute or two) I need to recall what I just said to verify it as I would periodically in technique #1.
      1 vote
      1. [3]
        Baeocystin
        Link Parent
        Something you can try is thinking in a language that you aren't very fluent in. You'll find that you know your whats and wants before being limited by vocabulary and grammar, and you can then...

        Something you can try is thinking in a language that you aren't very fluent in. You'll find that you know your whats and wants before being limited by vocabulary and grammar, and you can then catch the feeling of what you're after, if that helps. :)

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          What do you call someone that speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone that speaks one language? American! (That’s me)

          What do you call someone that speaks two languages? Bilingual.

          What do you call someone that speaks one language? American! (That’s me)

          1 vote
          1. Baeocystin
            Link Parent
            Ha! Fair enough. :) If you ever do feel like taking up another language, even just for fun, I bet you'll see what I mean pretty quickly.

            Ha! Fair enough. :) If you ever do feel like taking up another language, even just for fun, I bet you'll see what I mean pretty quickly.