Our inner narrator gives us continuity & sense of self + The ‘real you’ is a myth

#1
Our inner narrator gives us continuity & sense of self
https://aeon.co/essays/our-inner-narrato...se-of-self

EXCERPT: I think, therefore I am,’ the 17th-century philosopher René Descartes proclaimed as a first truth. That truth was rediscovered in 1887 by Helen Keller, a deaf and blind girl, then seven years of age: ‘I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no world … When I learned the meaning of “I” and “me” and found that I was something,’ she later explained, ‘I began to think. Then consciousness first existed for me.’ As both these pioneers knew, a fundamental part of conscious experience is ‘inner speech’ – the experience of verbal thought, expressed in one’s ‘inner voice’. Your inner voice is you.

That voice isn’t the sound of anything. It’s not even physical – we can’t observe it or measure it in any direct way. If it’s not physical, then we can arguably only attempt to study it by contemplation or introspection; students of the inner voice are ‘thinking about thinking’, an act that feels vague. William James, the 19th-century philosopher who is often touted as the originator of American psychology, compared the act to ‘trying to turn up the gas quickly enough to see how the darkness looks’.

Yet through new methods of experimentation in the last few decades, the nature of inner speech is finally being revealed. In one set of studies, scans are allowing researchers to study the brain regions linked with inner speech. In other studies, researchers are investigating links between internal and external speech – that which we say aloud.

[...] With inner speech clearly established as a chisel for the young mind, many more questions remained. Do people in adulthood experience inner speech in the same way as children – or even as each other? Do most of us even have an inner voice – an internal commentator narrating our lives and experiences from one moment to the next?

These were deeply controversial and introspective questions in the 1970s, and they captured the imagination of Russell Hurlburt, an aeronautical engineer-turned-clinical-psychology graduate student at the University of South Dakota. Hurlburt had envisioned a way to accurately sample others’ random inner experiences. Today a professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he’s been honing the technique ever since.

Hurlburt has found that we typically self-talk in voices we regard as our own and, though silent, we attribute to these voices sonic characteristics such as tone, pitch and pacing. We invest them with emotional qualities similar to external speech. Finally, inner speech mostly occurs in complete sentences and is nearly always actively produced rather than passively experienced.

Recently, Hurlburt teamed up with Charles Fernyhough, a leading researcher of inner speech and auditory hallucination at Durham University in the United Kingdom. [...] Hurlburt has found that we typically self-talk in voices we regard as our own and, though silent, we attribute to these voices sonic characteristics such as tone, pitch and pacing. We invest them with emotional qualities similar to external speech. Finally, inner speech mostly occurs in complete sentences and is nearly always actively produced rather than passively experienced. Recently, Hurlburt teamed up with Charles Fernyhough, a leading researcher of inner speech and auditory hallucination at Durham University in the United Kingdom. [...]

Fernyhough calls the most familiar level of inner speech ‘expanded’ because it is basically the same as external speech – grammatical and fully formed, but not vocal. He believes this kind of inner speech is most likely engaged when we are under stress or cognitive pressure.

[...] The second broad category of inner speech defined by Fernyhough is considerably more mysterious and enigmatic. He calls it ‘condensed’ inner speech, borne out of Vygotsky’s belief that as speech becomes internalised it can undergo profound transformations that set it distinctly apart from the expanded version. Condensed inner speech is defined as a highly abbreviated and ungrammatical version of regular speech. Although possibly linguistic – comprised of words – it is not intended to be communicated or even understood by others.

[...] The variety of ‘condensed’ experiences people have are remarkably unique because we already know the meanings of the contents of our own thoughts – there’s simply no need for a brain to slog out a rich, grammatical format of inner thought that can be understood by others, when thinking to ourselves. [...] Condensed inner speech can even have most of its auditory qualities stripped away, such that ‘there isn’t much speechy about it’, say Fernyhough.

Hurlburt says inner speech can indeed involve elimination of words entirely, while the linguistic experience remains intact. ‘Sometimes there are words that are missing – “holes” in your inner speech. Sometimes the whole thing [all words] are missing and yet you still experience yourself speaking,’ he states. In this case, the person reports the experience of speaking, including its production, sense of loudness, pace etc, and senses what is being said but does not experience any words in their usual sense.

He has also posited a passive form of inner speech that he calls ‘inner hearing’. ‘It’s possible to inner “hear” your own voice rather than speak your own voice,’ he tells me. Here, people listen to their own voice in their heads, perceiving the same sonic characteristics as expanded speech, but without the agency. Such experiences have been recalled by participants as their voice ‘just happening’, as ‘coming out of its own accord’, as ‘taking place’ rather than ‘being uttered’.

Some people passively experience inner speech in voices not their own – essentially as auditory hallucinations that they cannot control. [...] Of great fascination, Fernyhough has concluded that a small but significant part of the general population also experience auditory hallucinations – a phenomenon the researchers call ‘voice hearing’ to distinguish it from schizophrenia. Such voices have been reported by noted individuals throughout history, says Fernyhough...

MORE: https://aeon.co/essays/our-inner-narrato...se-of-self



The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want
https://theconversation.com/the-real-you...ant-103253

EXCERPT: . . . But it turns out that identity is often not a truthful representation of who we are anyway – even if we have an intact memory. Research shows that we don’t actually access and use all available memories when creating personal narratives. It is becoming increasingly clear that, at any given moment, we unawarely tend to choose and pick what to remember.

When we create personal narratives, we rely on a psychological screening mechanism, dubbed the monitoring system, which labels certain mental concepts as memories, but not others. Concepts that are rather vivid and rich in detail and emotion – episodes we can re-experience – are more likely to be marked as memories. These then pass a “plausibility test” carried out by a similar monitoring system which tells whether the events fit within the general personal history. For example, if we remember flying unaided in vivid detail, we know straight away that it cannot be real.

But what is selected as a personal memory also needs to fit the current idea that we have of ourselves. Let’s suppose you have always been a very kind person, but after a very distressing experience you have developed a strong aggressive trait that now suits you. Not only has your behaviour changed, your personal narrative has too. If you are now asked to describe yourself, you might include past events previously omitted from your narrative – for example, instances in which you acted aggressively.
False memories

And this is only half of the story. The other half has to do with the truthfulness of the memories that each time are chosen and picked to become part of the personal narrative. Even when we correctly rely on our memories, they can be highly inaccurate or outright false: we often make up memories of events that never happened.

Remembering is not like playing a video from the past in your mind – it is a highly reconstructive process that depends on knowledge, self image, needs and goals. Indeed, brain imaging studies have shown that personal memory does not have just one location in the brain, it is based on an “autobiographical memory brain network” which comprises many separate areas....

MORE: https://theconversation.com/the-real-you...ant-103253
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#2
(Sep 21, 2018 02:44 AM)C C Wrote: Our inner narrator gives us continuity & sense of self
https://aeon.co/essays/our-inner-narrato...se-of-self

EXCERPT: I think, therefore I am,’ the 17th-century philosopher René Descartes proclaimed as a first truth. That truth was rediscovered in 1887 by Helen Keller, a deaf and blind girl, then seven years of age: ‘I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no world … When I learned the meaning of “I” and “me” and found that I was something,’ she later explained, ‘I began to think. Then consciousness first existed for me.’ As both these pioneers knew, a fundamental part of conscious experience is ‘inner speech’ – the experience of verbal thought, expressed in one’s ‘inner voice’. Your inner voice is you.

That voice isn’t the sound of anything. It’s not even physical – we can’t observe it or measure it in any direct way. If it’s not physical, then we can arguably only attempt to study it by contemplation or introspection; students of the inner voice are ‘thinking about thinking’, an act that feels vague. William James, the 19th-century philosopher who is often touted as the originator of American psychology, compared the act to ‘trying to turn up the gas quickly enough to see how the darkness looks’.

Yet through new methods of experimentation in the last few decades, the nature of inner speech is finally being revealed. In one set of studies, scans are allowing researchers to study the brain regions linked with inner speech. In other studies, researchers are investigating links between internal and external speech – that which we say aloud.

[...] With inner speech clearly established as a chisel for the young mind, many more questions remained. Do people in adulthood experience inner speech in the same way as children – or even as each other? Do most of us even have an inner voice – an internal commentator narrating our lives and experiences from one moment to the next?

These were deeply controversial and introspective questions in the 1970s, and they captured the imagination of Russell Hurlburt, an aeronautical engineer-turned-clinical-psychology graduate student at the University of South Dakota. Hurlburt had envisioned a way to accurately sample others’ random inner experiences. Today a professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he’s been honing the technique ever since.

Hurlburt has found that we typically self-talk in voices we regard as our own and, though silent, we attribute to these voices sonic characteristics such as tone, pitch and pacing. We invest them with emotional qualities similar to external speech. Finally, inner speech mostly occurs in complete sentences and is nearly always actively produced rather than passively experienced.

Recently, Hurlburt teamed up with Charles Fernyhough, a leading researcher of inner speech and auditory hallucination at Durham University in the United Kingdom. [...] Hurlburt has found that we typically self-talk in voices we regard as our own and, though silent, we attribute to these voices sonic characteristics such as tone, pitch and pacing. We invest them with emotional qualities similar to external speech. Finally, inner speech mostly occurs in complete sentences and is nearly always actively produced rather than passively experienced. Recently, Hurlburt teamed up with Charles Fernyhough, a leading researcher of inner speech and auditory hallucination at Durham University in the United Kingdom. [...]

Fernyhough calls the most familiar level of inner speech ‘expanded’ because it is basically the same as external speech – grammatical and fully formed, but not vocal. He believes this kind of inner speech is most likely engaged when we are under stress or cognitive pressure.

[...] The second broad category of inner speech defined by Fernyhough is considerably more mysterious and enigmatic. He calls it ‘condensed’ inner speech, borne out of Vygotsky’s belief that as speech becomes internalised it can undergo profound transformations that set it distinctly apart from the expanded version. Condensed inner speech is defined as a highly abbreviated and ungrammatical version of regular speech. Although possibly linguistic – comprised of words – it is not intended to be communicated or even understood by others.

[...] The variety of ‘condensed’ experiences people have are remarkably unique because we already know the meanings of the contents of our own thoughts – there’s simply no need for a brain to slog out a rich, grammatical format of inner thought that can be understood by others, when thinking to ourselves. [...] Condensed inner speech can even have most of its auditory qualities stripped away, such that ‘there isn’t much speechy about it’, say Fernyhough.

Hurlburt says inner speech can indeed involve elimination of words entirely, while the linguistic experience remains intact. ‘Sometimes there are words that are missing – “holes” in your inner speech. Sometimes the whole thing [all words] are missing and yet you still experience yourself speaking,’ he states. In this case, the person reports the experience of speaking, including its production, sense of loudness, pace etc, and senses what is being said but does not experience any words in their usual sense.

He has also posited a passive form of inner speech that he calls ‘inner hearing’. ‘It’s possible to inner “hear” your own voice rather than speak your own voice,’ he tells me. Here, people listen to their own voice in their heads, perceiving the same sonic characteristics as expanded speech, but without the agency. Such experiences have been recalled by participants as their voice ‘just happening’, as ‘coming out of its own accord’, as ‘taking place’ rather than ‘being uttered’.

Some people passively experience inner speech in voices not their own – essentially as auditory hallucinations that they cannot control. [...] Of great fascination, Fernyhough has concluded that a small but significant part of the general population also experience auditory hallucinations – a phenomenon the researchers call ‘voice hearing’ to distinguish it from schizophrenia. Such voices have been reported by noted individuals throughout history, says Fernyhough...

MORE: https://aeon.co/essays/our-inner-narrato...se-of-self




The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want
https://theconversation.com/the-real-you...ant-103253

EXCERPT: . . . But it turns out that identity is often not a truthful representation of who we are anyway – even if we have an intact memory. Research shows that we don’t actually access and use all available memories when creating personal narratives. It is becoming increasingly clear that, at any given moment, we unawarely tend to choose and pick what to remember.

When we create personal narratives, we rely on a psychological screening mechanism, dubbed the monitoring system, which labels certain mental concepts as memories, but not others. Concepts that are rather vivid and rich in detail and emotion – episodes we can re-experience – are more likely to be marked as memories. These then pass a “plausibility test” carried out by a similar monitoring system which tells whether the events fit within the general personal history. For example, if we remember flying unaided in vivid detail, we know straight away that it cannot be real.

But what is selected as a personal memory also needs to fit the current idea that we have of ourselves. Let’s suppose you have always been a very kind person, but after a very distressing experience you have developed a strong aggressive trait that now suits you. Not only has your behaviour changed, your personal narrative has too. If you are now asked to describe yourself, you might include past events previously omitted from your narrative – for example, instances in which you acted aggressively.
False memories

And this is only half of the story. The other half has to do with the truthfulness of the memories that each time are chosen and picked to become part of the personal narrative. Even when we correctly rely on our memories, they can be highly inaccurate or outright false: we often make up memories of events that never happened.

Remembering is not like playing a video from the past in your mind – it is a highly reconstructive process that depends on knowledge, self image, needs and goals. Indeed, brain imaging studies have shown that personal memory does not have just one location in the brain, it is based on an “autobiographical memory brain network” which comprises many separate areas....

MORE: https://theconversation.com/the-real-you...ant-103253

Quote:The ‘real you’ is a myth
which, while well meaing, i think the term "speak your truth" is an unwitting missdirection of the self.


while being a stalwart to middle class feminism in the 80s & having current relativeness, the modern equvilent may well be lost to a diverse concept of the inner mind seeking to define its self amongst a plathora of divergant independant opinions of the value of self actuation as a physical manifestation to structure historical absolutes against.
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