Skip To Content
    Feb 3, 2020

    Not Everyone Hears Their Thoughts And I Am Truly Flabbergasted

    Meanwhile, my thoughts are like a never-ending TED Talk.

    So I've always thought that, like me, everybody hears a voice in their head while they think and that they have conversations with it.

    NBC / Via giphy.com

    But then, a couple days ago, my friend sent me this tweet that said there are people who actually don't hear their thoughts...

    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

    ...and I. Am. Floored.

    TVPeru / Via giphy.com

    From the replies to the tweet, I'm clearly not the only one who is flabbergasted:

    @kylecoolky @KylePlantEmoji No mate, when I'm speaking i generally have no idea what I'm going to say until I'm saying it. As a result I speak really fast and go off on tangents.

    @KylePlantEmoji I tried to think in concepts this morning and kept fuckin talkin to myself

    So I looked it up to see if this was legit and there was a small study done in 2011 that found some people really NEVER experience inner speech.

    There were even tons of people replying to the tweet sharing how they don't have inner speech.

    @KylePlantEmoji my thoughts are def the abstract ones. if they contain words, it's more or less just fragments & not complete sentences until they're coming out. i think it's why i stumble over my words so often, stutter, always 5 levels ahead of whatever I'm actually saying, rambling, etc

    @KylePlantEmoji My thoughts are non-verbal, and I find it much easier to write than talk because it gives me more time to put my thoughts into words! I recently found out about this and it’s made me feel so much less alone.

    Some of them said they don't hear words while they're reading, which is wiiiiiiilldd.

    @caniBEmoretired @KylePlantEmoji Funnily enough, no. I’ve never thought about that! I see the words and register them, but I don’t sound them out or fully read them in my head. I read quickly, so maybe that’s why? Interesting.

    @im_kirby @KylePlantEmoji If you say the word elephant to me, I mentally see the word elephant in my head, not a picture of an elephant.

    And others said that they assign images to math and symbols.

    @KylePlantEmoji does anyone’s brain generate images based on completely unrelated things?? like eg. when i was young, when id recite my times tables, the 2’s would be like snowy & 3’s would be the desert? and i rmbr doing algebra and certain functions would generate certain unique images?

    One person added that their thought process was a mix of both and I can't even begin to imagine what that must be like. 🤯

    @egemini618 @KylePlantEmoji It's weird! I kind of have a mix of both? Like my thoughts dart around a lot and don't always have a consistent narrative throughline, but then I can switch to basically thinking a single thing if I need to

    Well, my mind is just absolutely blown!!!

    NBC / Via giphy.com

    Do you have inner speech? If you don't, what is your thinking process like? Do you notice any patterns in people who think one way over the other? Let us know in the comments!

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form