DIY inner voice, pictures, & abstract experiences: Can you even do such?


EXCERPT: When you think all to yourself (not engaging with others) do you hear an inner voice, do you conjure images, or do you just have abstract feelings? For most people the answer is, yes. Recently a Twitter post has triggered people to consider their inner voice, and whether or not they have one. The post was intriguing to many people mostly because they had not considered that other people may be different in this respect than they are. It was not a variable they thought could differ among people.

The episode brings up a few interesting points, the first of which is the core question – how do people think? If you have never considered the question, consider it now. Do you actually “hear” a virtual voice in your head? Do you think mostly in pictures, or in the abstract? Or is the mode of your thought very context dependent – depending on what you are thinking about or what task you are trying to complete.

For me, I think I do everything. If anything I may be biased toward verbal inner monologue, but that may be an artifact of the fact that I write every day and give lots of lectures. I definitely practice lectures and conversations entirely in my head. [...] But I can also be very visual when the task calls for it, bringing to mind detailed images, schematics, or spatial relationships. When I think about abstract concepts, I tend to give them some verbal or visual representation. [...]

I have known for a long time that other people (at least those close to me) do not do this nearly as much as I do, and I have also learned over the years of my neurological study and science communication that, generally speaking, there is far more neurodiversity than we naively assume. There are those who essentially have no verbal inner monologue. They are far to the visual end of the spectrum.

At the other end of the spectrum there is “aphantasia” – which is a complete lack of the ability to bring an image to mind... (MORE )
My husband is like that. It’s really frustrating when you’re trying to build or design something together. I have to show him a picture of something very similar. Architectural plans…fuggedaboutit!
I’m just glad my inner voice speaks English.

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