Many of us have an assumption that everyone thinks in monologues. That is, their thoughts are like audible sentences. While this is true for many of us, some people just don’t think in this way! The following tweet has led to an elaborate discussion on the same topic.
Fun fact: some people have an internal narrative and some don't
As in, some people's thoughts are like sentences they "hear", and some people just have abstract non-verbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them
And most people aren't aware of the other type of person
— Kyle🌱 (@KylePlantEmoji) January 27, 2020
As someone belonging to either of the 2 types, people are surprised at the existence of the other type of thinking.
I'm sitting here trying to imagine what hearing your own voice in your head constantly narrating your every waking moment feels like and I'm so fucking glad my mind doesn't do this. https://t.co/uh4xHXBFe8
— JeanNA Toss A Coin To Your Skinner (@JeannaLStars) February 2, 2020
This thread is fascinating and blowing my mind.
I can think in fully formed sentences if I need to, but the idea many of you have constant, never-ending, Virginia Woolf-esque trains of thought—properly expressed in language—is incredible. https://t.co/D1mxNYladc
— Benjamin Law 羅旭能 (@mrbenjaminlaw) January 31, 2020
wait is this real? how do u think if not in sentences in ur head??? https://t.co/tVptwdftjj
— Riley J. Dennis (@RileyJayDennis) January 27, 2020
This is so wild to me I can't imagine thinking in actual sentences and hearing an internal monologue. People really think in sentences???? https://t.co/McreMtBK5a
— WitchyTwitchy Ⓥ (@witchytwitchytv) January 27, 2020
I have polyphonic internal narration. Everything I do in a day is processed through *several* different internal voices (all me) talking to one another in a conversation. If disgraces, sometimes I accidentally speak aloud the ongoing dialogue.
I THOUGHT EVERYONE WAS LIKE THIS.
— Van Badham (@vanbadham) January 31, 2020
You can do a small experiment by asking people around you about their thinking process. It’s highly likely that you’ll find a few people who think differently than you.
Wait so some people don't have to suffer through the voice in their head going on a constant monologue?? Is that what it means to achieve inner peace??
— 𝐙 (@howd9rk) January 27, 2020
Someone who thinks in monologues will probably be talking to themselves while doing things. Like, they might be telling themselves to climb the stairs, go to the bathroom and wash their face. For such people, those having no monologues inside their heads seem to be monks. While for one who doesn’t have an inner monologue, the idea of a constant internal conversation sounds very exhausting.
Same. For me it’s easier to write than speak. And i often don’t really know what I’m thinking until i write it.
— Laurie Feinswog (@ljfxiki) January 27, 2020
Then some people have a thinking process that is a mixture of these two types. For daily chores like eating, bathing, etc, they don’t think in monologues. Their abstract thinking kicks in and they picture the images of those things or feel the hunger pangs. But when it comes to complex thoughts like planning about the future, they tend to hold inner monologues.
Sometimes, the monologues are so vivid that it almost feels like watching a sitcom show! One who thinks in monologues generally has argumentative conversation inside their head, accepting/ dismissing something they said in their head.
A Twitter poll revealed that the majority (58%) of the people who voted, think in words. About 14% of the voting population thinks in concepts. And 19% of them have a mix of both these kinds of thoughts.
— Nopety nope (@LJDEM) January 27, 2020
Above is a non-scientific poll, but a scientific study showed most people to have a mixed process of thinking. A study conducted in 2011 aimed at knowing the thinking process of various people. A random group of students was selected and given beepers. As soon as the beepers went off, they were supposed to write down whatever was going on in their minds. This activity was conducted for many weeks to get the students accustomed to it. This gave the researchers a fair idea of what took place in the minds of those students.
About 26% of them were found to hold monologues in their minds. But when seen individually, there were huge differences in thinking processes. Some people never held internal conversations while others had about 75% of their thoughts coming to them as monologues! The average was taken as about 20%.
If you’re curious, a deaf person also thinks in monologues. Their monologues, however, are not sound-based but are image-based. Some people are also there who are unable to draw mental images and this is called aphantasia.
also have antaphantasia, i thought it was a metaphor for the longest time as well. wasn't until i read a book when i was younger where they were explaining "mental images" when i was like oh this is REAL?
— charlie (@charleful) January 27, 2020
Isn’t it interesting to know that not everyone thinks in monologues? Ask your friends what is their thinking type? Have fun exploring!
Featured Image: The Brain