The last great mystery of the mind: meet the people who have unusual – or non-existent – inner voices - Deepstash

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Identifying your inner voice

Identifying your inner voice

Does your internal monologue play out on a television, in an attic, as a bickering Italian couple – or is it entirely, blissfully silent? 

Claudia, a sailor from Lichfield in her late 30s, is not Italian. She has never been to Italy. She has no Italian family or friends. And she has no idea why a belligerent Italian couple have taken over her inner voice, duking it out in Claudia’s brain while she sits back and listens.

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How does the inner voice work?

In order to understand how the inner voice works, you need to understand how human thought translates into action. “Whenever we do any action, our brain makes a prediction of the sensory consequences of that action,” says Loevenbruck. Say you want to fetch a glass of water. “Your brain sends the appropriate motor signals to your hand, but it also generates a sensory prediction of the command,” she says. “Before you’ve even picked up the glass, your brain has made a prediction of what the motor command will do, which means you can correct for mistakes before you make an error.

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The concept of inner language

Loevenbruck explains that, for the most part, we hear what she terms “inner language”. But not always. “You can have expanded and more condensed forms of inner speech,” she says. “People may experience them as abstract representations of language, without sound … some people say their inner voice is like a radio that’s on all day long. Other people don’t have a voice at all, or they speak in abstract symbols that don’t involve language.” Loevenbruck can’t explain why some people experience the inner voice differently: we are at the limits of neuroscience...

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IDEAS CURATED BY

danaprowe

I'm a musical theatre composer, and I'm also a certified coach. My musical theatre works have been produced and performed around the world. As a coach, I help creative artists achieve greater career success.

Dana P. Rowe's ideas are part of this journey:

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