“Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has an Internal Monologue” (Ryan Langdon)

A friend of mine shared this article on Facebook and I was so intrigued I looked it up on the internet and thought I would share it.  “Today I learned that not everyone has an Internal Monologue and it has ruined my day.”  – Ryan Langdon

Abstract speaker silhouette


The article talks about how some people have an internal narrative and some don’t. Some can hear their voice in their heads as if they were speaking out loud in full sentences. Others describe it as literally seeing the words in their heads or “concept maps”.  Another said if they looked at themselves in the mirror and tried to have a conversation with themselves without talking they would have to wind up talking out loud to themselves because they physically could not do it inside their minds.

I hear internal narratives in my head, yet the friend who shared this on Facebook does not.

For example, whenever I read a story I hear myself saying the words in my head and simultaneously envision the story as it is happening in my head as if I am watching it on TV.  As I type this post I hear myself saying the words, but I am not making a sound.  At any time of the day I hear myself thinking of all kinds of things such as a chore I want to complete when I get home or giving myself a pep talk if I have a rough day with some of the kiddos in my class.  Everything is visually played out as I am talking it over in my head.  I also absolutely talk out loud to myself on occasion, such as saying things like “unbelievable” when I hear something absurd on TV or when I am trying to sort something out.  But I can carry on a conversation in my head like no tomorrow.

My friend, however said, “I see things like in video clips, it is silent in my head.”  She also said that when she types she “thinks of the words she is typing and type them….not as a voice but from a concept or thought.”  As far as a grocery list she doesn’t hear the list being narrated in her head as she writes the items down ~ she “only sees the word or the actual item on the list.”  This is confusing to me and I can’t quite understand what she is trying to explain.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to have silence in my head.

If you read the article, what I am trying to explain may make more sense.

This is particularly interesting to me as a teacher.  To help teach comprehension I often suggest the children try to hear or listen to what they are saying as they read silently and even try to see the characters and the settings in their minds.  Most of them have always told me this is what they do and a very small percentage look at me like I have lost my mind.  When they tell me they don’t do this, I always try to encourage them to give this a try.  Now I am realizing maybe they just can’t?

Do you have an internal monologue?

40 thoughts on ““Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has an Internal Monologue” (Ryan Langdon)

  1. Interesting. I know someone who doesn’t have an internal monologue. Instead, he verbalizes it. Everything that you or I would say in our minds, he speaks out loud. He once told me how he thought he hung up with his girlfriend, but she was still on the line and she heard his entire “inner/outer” thoughts on a car that he drove by. How cool he thought it looked, how much he thought it would be, whether he could afford it, and then his final decision that he didn’t really want the car. Must have been cute too hear, because she eventually married him.


  2. Thank you! Fascinating…I certainly hear an internal dialogue. Annoyingly, as a writer, sometimes at 4 or 5 am…But, conversely, those voices often come up with some good ideas which, if I don’t write them down, are gone by dawn! I’m always intrigued by what makes people tick, and while i’m no Einstein (ha ha) think that too few of us use our minds to best advantage. That’s what keeps me going -. trying to do better and learn more before I leave this wonderful mortal coil. x


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  4. I’ve not really though about this, but I DO think/hear the words as I type them…they are composed in my head and sometimes I can’t type fast enough to keep up with them. When I am reading I have vivid mental pictures of the story and characters, although I wouldn’t say it is exactly a “move.”


  5. I’ve always though everyone had voices in their head. I often talk about my Inner Critic. I think through complete conversations before they happen. I plan blog posts in my head way before any writing happens and write out lists before any pen is in my hand. I cannot imagine a head of silence! I’m more words than visuals, but hubby is more visual…. now I’ll have to ask him if he has voices in his head. I always assumed he did (that everyone did)…. now I wonder!


  6. That’s fascinating. I have an endless inner monologue but no inner movie theater. I read an article recently in the newspaper with a headline that said, “My mind has no eye,” and it very nicely summed up my experience–in fact, put words to something I hadn’t really pulled together before. I struggle to recognize anyone I don’t know well. I’ve only rarely caught inner glimpses of places I know, and when I have they’re not necessarily ones I love but they’ve been so clear that I was delighted with them. As a writer, I don’t describe people’s features (who cares? someone, probably, but they mean nothing to me) but the impact their presence has.

    Thanks for a fascinating post.


  7. I’d read that article and it blew my mind. I have an internal monologue, and have had one as long as I can remember. I asked my husband if he had one and he said no. Not sure I can stay married to him now. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The mind is such an interesting thing, I’ve spent my career learning about it & working with the unique differences that each of us have not just in thoughts but processing our emotions too.
    Did you know there are those who only think in numbers, colors or music!
    My thoughts are in words but also can be in a streaming video format with words & sound.
    I don’t talk out loud though.
    Bless you,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is so interesting. I have conversations, to the point of writing dialogue in my head all the time. Sometimes when I read I will find myself lost and have to back up several sentences or even paragraphs and say the words out loud to get my mind to refocus. I have always chalked that up to lack of interest, but it probably is a disorder of some kind. Wow, no sound in your head freaks me out! I love your comment about untapped potential due to lack of understanding. What a world, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a visual learner so I understand best when I visual or see it demonstrated. I talk to myself (in my head) all the time but occasionally I get so exasperated that I mutter out loud. I can also look at something and visual it later. This is particularly handy when I forget my shopping list. I can usually visual the slip of paper and recreate it in my mind. Too bad it doesn’t help me remember to take the doggone list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The brain is a fascinating organ and I really believe there are many untapped powers within. When I was in graduate school I was given an assignment to write a research paper on the multiple intelligences theory. Part of the study included adapting a unit of study to fit my students needs. It was more challenging and it took more preparation and research, but it turned out to be better for my students as seen in their results at the end of the unit. Throughout the process it was very interesting to see who responded the best to which of the eight intelligences. Sadly, it would be difficult to change the traditional school culture in general. But I can attest to the fact this assignment enabled my lowest achieving students to actually feel successful for (perhaps) the first time academically. Everyone is different and I wonder what this world would be like if everyone could perform at their best? Thanks for giving me the opportunity to think deeper with your question.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I read the post-and feel you explained it well. I talk in my head and hear the words-I read as you do. I have conversations with myself- most especially with problem solving and self reflection.-but I talk to God aloud throughout the day- I start with “Good morning Lord!” and on and on I go . . .I talk a lot! ha! I love the mysteries of the brain and I think should we consider it-we would do well and might solve a lot of conflicts! thank you for provoking my thoughts. love Michele

    Liked by 1 person

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