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a question about deepthought. when you think, do you "hear" the words in your head?
if so, why is this? when hearing is an outside influence. or is the brain translating the thought data into thing we are more used to?

idk if i've phrased that right.
asked in biology, thought, science

imfeduptoo answers:

I don't know if I'm unusual in the way I think, but I don't know anyone else who does the same - when I'm thinking I see the words written down, as though I'm reading a book.
I rarely 'hear' the words.
Maybe my brain is translating my thoughts into, as you say, what I'm used to because from a very early age I've always had my head stuck into a book.

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OneFootInTheGame answers:

I can't remember ever hearing voices in my head, mine or anyone elses, not even when I dream. With me it's all pictures or visualizations. Makes sense, the only thing I ever retained from a lecture was what was in my notes, everything I'd heard was soon gone. Even when I'm reading something if I can't visualize it, the only way I'll retain it is to memorize it (not easy, for me).

Is there a split between auditory people and visual people, like between morning people and night people?

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beeper_spryte answers:

yeah, i get where you're coming from. a lot of my teachers have found that i write how i talk, and it's because i think how i hear ;) i like this way of doing things because it gives me a chance to add my own inflections to text i'm reading... or an accent - makes learning a script interesting :) that's the other thing - i don't hear *other* voices, i hear the words as if i'm saying them, y'know?

how is it for you, ju? do you hear words? do you hear them clearly? or do you see them written or as images? is it different to how you dream?

i dream in colours, shapes and images, and i hear things when i dream, and i've seen text (like a book) as well... all three "types" yet only one employed when conscious.

i like this question XD

Supplement from 10/29/2008 12:07am:

just thought of a possible reason why - i was also a bookworm, and i was often told to read it "to myself". mebbe how i think functions as a voice-over narrative because of that way of learning?

i do occasionally get a narrative thing going too... it's as if there is a book of my life that my brain is reading aloud (but only to me), and it fills in the gaps... f'rinstance, tonight i was at darts, when this popped into my head:

" "yup, 180, not so hard to get, three darts, bam, bam, bam," she thought as she stepped up to the oche..."

like a line from a book. a pretty badly written book (we ended up losing). but anyway, i hear that line in my head as if i'm reading that (crappy) book to myself.

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funrunna answers:

I'm pretty much the same as Beeper except for "telepathic" imagery. I can only relate this difference in dealing with my cat, as an example. He "hears" me call him for food, when I "project" the image of his dish but not, if I project the image of food. This pretty much works with people too.

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seacommander answers:

My thoughts appear as a mixture of images (mainly) and 'hearing'. In some ways this visualiastion of thoughts is analogous to speed reading techniques I was taught. Many people, when reading, will actually say the words (in their mind that is, not aloud) as they read. Speed reading trains one to see words purely as images and because images are interpreted by the brain much more quickly than one can 'speak' the words either aloud or to oneself, reading speed increases significantly.

I don’t think it is inconsistent in any way that some people can ‘hear’ or ‘see’ their thoughts even though there is no external sound or image to be registered. This situation is very similar to sensations felt by amputees who can quite clearly ‘feel’ the amputated foot, hand, finger etc. The brain is a marvelous organ and can play some funny tricks.

I’m not sure about thinking in emergencies. The brain must take into account many factors when deciding on the best course of action in an emergency, yet thinking, back I have no recollection of these thoughts flashing past as images, words or sounds. It’s almost as if this type of thinking works on yet another level.

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Maygs answers:

Humans encode information in their mind acoustically. When we read, we take in the words and "say" them in our heads. This is typically the way we transfer short term memories into our long term memory.

Most of us have an "inner monologue" and the voice we are hearing isn't necessarily our actual voice. Sometimes people do "see" their thoughts in words or pictures, but for the most part it's a voice.

Basically you hit the nail on the head in your own question, yes, the brain is changing the input into auditory "sound" so we can store it in our memories.

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wumpus answers:

I've previously heard (there we go again!) that people with no language - alulus - have difficulty conceptualising some ideas because they don't have any terminology to refer to them in thought.

Which could be one of the reasons that they stay primitive.

I don't know if it's true or not, but certainly makes sense to me.

And yes, when I thinking, I "hear" the thoughts.

Which in turn means that I can only think at the speed of speech, which is quite worrying!

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Bubs86 answers:

I always hear voices in my head, maybe I am weird! If I am reading I can hear the voices in my head. But also when I am thinking and planning I make mental notes with myself. I also hear voices when I day dream! I thought this was normal and everyone has it?!!

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jacquesdor answers:

My voiice seems to be running along in my head most of the time. Deep and serious thought is different, I am not as likely to have words in my brain. What has surprised me - having realised it only recently - is that the running thoughts are in the accent that I had as a child, very different to my present speech.

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marge1983 answers:

when I'm thinking I can hear my voice. I'm asking myself questions inside my head, if i'm thinking about a conversation I had with someone i hear there voice and mine. eeek i'm thinking,

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