Inner voice missing? Your brain may be wired differently

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/07/08/inner-voice-missing-your-brain-may-be-wired-differently.html

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It comes and goes. It’s easier for it to go ever since I started my half-assed, occasional meditation practice. Sometimes it’s really nice to just be in the world and experience it without part of my brain constantly narrating what’s going on.

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My inner-voice talks behind my back. :disappointed_relieved:

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diversity in inner experience should be our starting point—no two minds are the same

This.

If people could just get it through their heads that not everyone sees the world the same way that they do and that this is due to reasons beyond anyone’s control, we could probably all learn to get along better.

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There are worse things…

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Conversely, how does my imagination augment my ability to innovate and invent?

[Imaginations.]

Missing? Hardly.

It won’t shut the :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: up.

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happy christopher meloni GIF

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But is the inner voice a reliable narrator?

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My inner voice now calls me “Sir,” but that was one hell of a tough conversation.

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Not sure I’d call mine a dialogue, more a monologue in which I muse about certain topics then come to conclusions. I also talk to myself out loud plenty, even more since I moved to a tiny apartment in Japan. Luckily I’m quite content in my own company.

ADHDinos on Insta riffed on this yesterday:

Now I have a spinning cow in my head that I can’t get rid of. It’s wearing a spacesuit, and about to pass into the shadow of the dark side of the moon. :man_shrugging:

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This is me

“Tiffany’s Second Thoughts said: Hang on, was that a First Thought? And Tiffany thought: No, that was a Third Thought. I’m thinking about how I think about what I’m thinking. At least, I think so. Her Second Thoughts said: Let’s all calm down, please, because this is quite a small head.”
Terry Pratchett - The Wee Free Men

My spouse teases that I have Fourth Thoughts.

I don’t like treating this as a condition. It implies someone without inner dialogue or imagery is somehow less-than others. But words for the phenomena could be useful. The trick is getting the words to name it without also dragging along the idea being this way is somehow wrong.

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Oh, and the juxtaposition of ‘cow’ and ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ just reminded me of this pic I took in Osaka a few years back:

Dark Side of the Moo, anyone? :wink:

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Participants were asked to rate how highly they agreed with “I think about problems in my mind in the form of a conversation with myself”

I call bullshit. I think about problems - a lot - but I don’t talk to myself.

The lack of definition of terms - or their ability to be interpreted different ways by participants - does not bode well for any conclusions.

Participants with less inner speech performed worse on verbal memory and rhyme judgment tasks.

Oh, I do, do I?

Exactly! Why a ‘conversation’ is required for their to be an ‘inner voice’ - or indeed why an ‘inner voice’ is required at all (define ‘inner voice’ you sloppy ‘scientists’ - oh, it only exists when there is a ‘conversation’ with myself, does it?)

The researchers propose the term “anendophasia” for a lack of inner speech.

A term that only applies if I am not having a ‘conversation’?

FFS!

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Coincidentally (and not the same thing at all).

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That’s a fair criticism. The article itself doesn’t give much of a definition either, although it does talk about how inner speech differs in strength (which probably means presence) and it’s neither a good nor bad thing. It just has possible implications for how people navigate language-based situations.

As someone who has an often present inner monologue (I don’t consider it a conversation), I’m often curious about the different people I come across who don’t experience things the same way. How would you describe the way your inner life works? Like when you think through a problem or even when you’re reading? I have a voice in my head for those things and even when I’m composing messages.

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Some people just call that ‘thinking’.

(Seriously not a snarky comment! That’s the whole problem with this so-called ‘research’.)

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The research is investigating people who say they don’t have that voice. People who think differently. I have a friend who doesn’t think in terms of hearing a voice representing his thoughts but almost completely with imagery instead. Or thoughts just get vocalized immediately, like when he was working in the garage at 4 am and suddenly shouted, “Hungry!”, scaring his brother in an adjacent room half to death.

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I have tinnitus. I can’t hear my inner voice.

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