Do you "think in speech"?

KingGheedora

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2006
3,248
1
81
For some reason just now wondered if other people do this too. My thoughts are thought out as speech to myself inside my head, if that makes any sense.

I'm sure there is some thought going on that is not in speech, but the only thoughts I seem to be able to register are those that i synthesize internally into words.

If this were true wouldn't it make one's thought process slower, because they'd have to convert thoughts into English language before acknowledging them?

But as a counter point, when there is something I'm good at, I just seem to "know" what's up without needing to internally verbalize. I will still acknowledge those thoughts with internal monologue. Example is if I'm solving an equation, and I do something like cross of a variable from the denominator and numerator. I don't say "these are cancelling each other out", but I will add a step to my internal monologue like "...okay.." as I perform that step.

Anyone know anything about this in general? Has this ever been studied?
 

TecHNooB

Diamond Member
Sep 10, 2005
7,460
1
76
I use a combo of speech and images. When I read, I usually hear it echo back in my head (in whoevers voice I choose :p). I think at one point, I read simply by looking at the words without reciting it back in my head, but I switched up in an attempt to improve reading comprehension. If you watch one of the videos on richard feynman, he talks about how people think very differently at the most fundamental levels, and uses reading and counting as an example. He is able to read while counting in his head, while some other physicist was able to speak while counting via images. Both claimed one could not do the other.
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
4
0
Yes, images as well, but oddly enough the voice changes if I am reading versus thinking. The thinking voice is always the same, the way I sound to myself. But whenever I read a Calculus or Linear Algebra text, the voice has a Chinese accent (male for Calculus, female for Linear Algebra) and when I read a DE text, it has a male German accent. The "voice" apparently carried over from the professor that taught me the subject. Not sure why the Chinese voice is dominant in Calculus, 3/4 of my Calculus professors were not Chinese, but he was the last Calculus teacher that I had.
 

Whisper

Diamond Member
Feb 25, 2000
5,394
2
81
For some reason just now wondered if other people do this too. My thoughts are thought out as speech to myself inside my head, if that makes any sense.

I'm sure there is some thought going on that is not in speech, but the only thoughts I seem to be able to register are those that i synthesize internally into words.

If this were true wouldn't it make one's thought process slower, because they'd have to convert thoughts into English language before acknowledging them?

But as a counter point, when there is something I'm good at, I just seem to "know" what's up without needing to internally verbalize. I will still acknowledge those thoughts with internal monologue. Example is if I'm solving an equation, and I do something like cross of a variable from the denominator and numerator. I don't say "these are cancelling each other out", but I will add a step to my internal monologue like "...okay.." as I perform that step.

Anyone know anything about this in general? Has this ever been studied?

I'm fairly positive it's been studied, and I'm also fairly positive that most people think in the same way. There's even a term for the concept you've mentioned (i.e., "knowing" something is the case without explicitly telling it to yourself in your head), but I'm drawing a blank on it at the moment.
 

Kalmah

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2003
3,692
1
76
I use a combo of speech and images. When I read, I usually hear it echo back in my head (in whoevers voice I choose :p). I think at one point, I read simply by looking at the words without reciting it back in my head, but I switched up in an attempt to improve reading comprehension. If you watch one of the videos on richard feynman, he talks about how people think very differently at the most fundamental levels, and uses reading and counting as an example. He is able to read while counting in his head, while some other physicist was able to speak while counting via images. Both claimed one could not do the other.

I tried reading this without saying the words in my head. I was able to read very fast and comprehend more than normal. I might start reading the way you said you use to.
 

bobsmith1492

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2004
3,875
3
81
Sometimes I use the head-voice, but typically it stays quiet. I can read so much faster when not "saying" the words in my head. I also write code very quickly particularly while singing along with music. I think it's the right-brain helping out; the left brain is the speech center, so by freeing myself from its influence the overall brain is more effective.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,879
4,265
126
If I'm reading then yes. Other times I just think about "nothing" and come up with an answer. It often helps to "get out of the way", if that makes any sense.
 

Born2bwire

Diamond Member
Oct 28, 2005
9,840
6
71
I don't think in speech, I think prose.

"Verily, the OP dost speaketh in the mode of the most nonsensical of asses."

I'm working on getting the iambic pentameter going correctly, right now all I usually manage are five line anapaestics.
 

FelixDeCat

Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
29,159
2,034
126
I never have to speak to myself to think. People like that usually talk too much and are also prone to speaking their thoughts out loud to everyone, including random people they dont know, as if everyone was interested in what some stranger was thinking. I dont mean to be to harsh, but please keep your thoughts to yourself and please please if you are in public stfu. I promise to do the same. If everyone did this, it would be a peaceful and serene world. Otherwise it would be chaos and confusion. I have seen both and I prefer peace and serenity, not everyone speaking random thoughts out loud. Just stfu. Thank you. :)

And now the counterpoint: The people that never speak to themselves (or at least on occassion if necessary) are what I call quietheads. They tend to never say anything to anyone and frequently are lost in space and are not listening to anyone or anything. You find these people are plentiful. Frankly I prefer the quietheads over the loudmouths (see above). The only problem with quietheads is that they tend to be withdrawn emotionally, prone to quick anger or frequent panic attacks because their thought process tells them to react only to extremes. Otherwise most of the time its boring life and existance, which is what they prefer in fact. Time alone in the woods with noone else around. Just peace and quiet baby and lots of it. ALSO they tend to be loners, dont care about every little single thing what people are wearing, saying or doing. They also dont care much about what they say, because they usually dont begin complex thought unless they are speaking. They tend to be good at history and english but bad at math and science since they cant speak aloud in class.

I have spent 40 years studying the difference between the two, and would classify myself as more quiet than talkative (although sometimes I cant STFU either) ;)
 

KingGheedora

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2006
3,248
1
81
I'm fairly positive it's been studied, and I'm also fairly positive that most people think in the same way. There's even a term for the concept you've mentioned (i.e., "knowing" something is the case without explicitly telling it to yourself in your head), but I'm drawing a blank on it at the moment.

Interesting. I'm really interested to hear the name for this concept so I can start reading up on this kind of stuff.
 

KingGheedora

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2006
3,248
1
81
I tried reading this without saying the words in my head. I was able to read very fast and comprehend more than normal. I might start reading the way you said you use to.

I have thought about this as well, whether it would be possible to read without "repeating" what I'm reading in my internal monologue, and how much faster I'd be able to read if I could do this.

Has anyone successfully trained themselves to do this?
 

KingGheedora

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2006
3,248
1
81
I never have to speak to myself to think. People like that usually talk too much and are also prone to speaking their thoughts out loud to everyone, including random people they dont know, as if everyone was interested in what some stranger was thinking. I dont mean to be to harsh, but please keep your thoughts to yourself and please please if you are in public stfu. I promise to do the same. If everyone did this, it would be a peaceful and serene world. Otherwise it would be chaos and confusion. I have seen both and I prefer peace and serenity, not everyone speaking random thoughts out loud. Just stfu. Thank you. :)

And now the counterpoint: The people that never speak to themselves (or at least on occassion if necessary) are what I call quietheads. They tend to never say anything to anyone and frequently are lost in space and are not listening to anyone or anything. You find these people are plentiful. Frankly I prefer the quietheads over the loudmouths (see above). The only problem with quietheads is that they tend to be withdrawn emotionally, prone to quick anger or frequent panic attacks because their thought process tells them to react only to extremes. Otherwise most of the time its boring life and existance, which is what they prefer in fact. Time alone in the woods with noone else around. Just peace and quiet baby and lots of it. ALSO they tend to be loners, dont care about every little single thing what people are wearing, saying or doing. They also dont care much about what they say, because they usually dont begin complex thought unless they are speaking. They tend to be good at history and english but bad at math and science since they cant speak aloud in class.

I have spent 40 years studying the difference between the two, and would classify myself as more quiet than talkative (although sometimes I cant STFU either) ;)

I am proof that your entire theory is bunk. :)

I keep to myself, I especially don't talk to strangers, barely talk to my friends even, and am always lost in thought yet I have my internal monologue going constantly.

I am great at math / sciences, am definitely better there than the humanities subjects but still have kicked ass at all subjects in general.
 

FelixDeCat

Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
29,159
2,034
126
I am proof that your entire theory is bunk. :)

I keep to myself, I especially don't talk to strangers, barely talk to my friends even, and am always lost in thought yet I have my internal monologue going constantly.

I am great at math / sciences, am definitely better there than the humanities subjects but still have kicked ass at all subjects in general.

I would classify you as more of a hybrid like myself. I do admit to being a quiethead until I realized how my mind worked / was working (Im still very bad at complex math however). I learned to listen very carefully to every single word comming out of someones mouth to understand what they were saying and remember most everything they say as well. This is great in meetings, when you have a quick ready answer if you are called for input. Everyone speaking quickly, listening attentively, on topic and making quick progess and decisions. Its a wonderful sight. But its not always like that especially in big groups because then you introduce social interference of one sort or other.

But I still dont walk around talking to myself internally over every person or thing I see, or over every decision Im trying to make. Thats too much work and Ive tried it before. I dont like it. Monkey see, monkey do works for me most of the time. :awe:
 
Last edited:

dighn

Lifer
Aug 12, 2001
22,820
4
81
often though I consider it a bad habit. thinking non-verbally is far quicker, at least for me.
 
Oct 25, 2006
11,036
11
91
I have thought about this as well, whether it would be possible to read without "repeating" what I'm reading in my internal monologue, and how much faster I'd be able to read if I could do this.

Has anyone successfully trained themselves to do this?

Yes. Everyone in Policy Debate is able to do this. I can easily read books without turning on my internal monoluge. When I go into debate mode, I can read, type, and speak without turning on the "thinking" portions of my brain.
 

ConstipatedVigilante

Diamond Member
Feb 22, 2006
7,671
1
0
When I'm reading a book, I say each word in my head to understand it better and take my time. On a test, I skim and just take in the necessary information.

While thinking, I don't verbalize everything in my head. Some of it just sort of makes sense and it leads to other thoughts. When I'm musing on a topic as opposed to solving a problem, I do verbalize my thoughts.

Oh, and I always think in my own voice. Except when reading a novel - then I try to assign a different voice to each character. When I'm really engrossed in a novel though, it's more like a movie playing in my head as I read than a speech.
 
Last edited:

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
Yes, it's what I do too, but the voice can change quite a bit. Frequently I am never thinking in my own voice that I use out loud.

But sometimes I'll cut off that speech as I realize things... It's great when that happens because then I don't have to think everything out in that slow speech pattern.

Anyway, the voice varies all the time... Ever changing. It can be kramer, george, elaine, jerry, sean connery, and anyone else...
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
OP, you're just thinking of this? Of course people think in their language. Language is one of the primary factors in why people think differently around the world and within our own country.

Meanings, usage, inflection, slang and the culture they represent all reflect and affect an individuals society simultaneously. Have you never noticed that people do in fact think differently in different places? Priorities and how they are ranked in the first place all vary based significantly on language.

As I said language simultaneously reflects it's society as well as affects it's culture. There are many other reasons but, language is a primary factor.