“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?