Let's try a little experiment.
In your head, I want you to yell the sentence "I like crickets" Just in your head.
Good, now do the same thing, but this time instead of yelling, whisper "I like crickets" in your head.
Now, was the actual volume of your inner voice different when you yelled versus when you whispered?
It may seem like it, but... You can't change the volume of the voice in your head, just the tone and pitch.
That's because you aren't actually hearing that voice at all.
Your inner voice can feel like you're hearing yourself think, but it lives in a completely different part of the brain.
d it gWhetens yweouir'rdee r.ju st going about your day, thinking about things, do you think in words and complete sentences?
I do, but a lot of people don't.
Unless they're reading or writing, a lot of people report thinking in pictures, actions, or images, rather than words and sentences.
According to some scientists, there are three major types of thinkers.
There are verbal thinkers, like me, who think in words or whole sentences.
Pattern thinkers think in patterns and connections, which may feel like thinking in actions and em otioThnsen.
t here are visual thinkers who think in pictures and images.
Most people probably do a little bit of all three.
But it means that not everyone has an inner monologue... which blew my mind a little bit... That term probably came from a visual thinker.
Anyway, no matter how you think, a vast majority of people report thinking in whole sentences when reading or writing.
One study looked at how similar reading dialogue is to hearing it.
They had participants in an fMRI scanner read different sentences in their heads.
Some sentences were things like...
The man said, "I like crickets."
Which includes dialogue.
But other sentences were formated like...
The man said that he likes crickets.
Which means the same thing, but does not include dialogue.
The study found that when sentence contain dialogue, parts of the auditory cortex are activated.
You're actually hearing what the characters are saying.
Even when you're just replaying or imagining a conversation in your head, some parts of the auditory cortex activate.
This is different from being a verbal thinker.
An inner monologue does NOT activate the auditory cortex, but an inner dialogue does.
And it turns out, what your inner reading voice sounds like is not universal.
Some people read in their heads all in one voice: their own.
Other people read in a different voice, with an identifiable gender, pitch, or tone different from their own.
This other voice may be consistent when reading, or it may change based on what you're reading.
Some people read in multiple voices.
Some people don't hear a voice when reading at all.
So, without being able to see or hear what's going on in someone else's mind, we tend to assume that our experiences are universal, so a lot of this research wasn't done until recently.
We're just starting to learn more about the variation in how our minds work, and how we experience the world.
And that's something to think very loudly about.