Not everyone has an Internal Monologue

Ever had a conversation with yourself inside your head? Got a voice in your head that narrates you day? If so, you have what has been termed an internal monologue. The weird thing about inner monologues is that not everyone has them and it would seem that people with inner voices didn’t know about people without them and vice versa!

What is an Internal Monologue?

To have an internal monologue means that you think in words, this may mean that you hear your own voice inside your head when thinking about something or have conversations with yourself about this and that. An internal monologue can also be referred to as an inner voice, internal speech or speech rehearsal.

Research into Internal Monologues

Psychologists have been looking into the role of internal monologues since the 1930s when Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky suggesting that external conversation can become internalised. Vygotsky even proposed that internal monologues could be highly abbreviated and include many omissions.

Many studies have taken place over the years that show some people have never experienced an internal monologue at all, some only experience it occasionally and some have a constant inner voice that narrates their entire day. A professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Russell T. Hurlburt wrote “I’m confident that inner speech is a robust phenomenon; if you use a proper method, there’s little doubt about whether or not inner speech is occurring at any given moment, and I’m confident about the individual differences – some people talk to themselves a lot, some never, some occasionally.”.

I asked the members of our team whether they felt they had an internal monologue, below are a few of their answers!

‘Yes, I most certainly have an internal monologue!’

‘Only all the time. I live for my internal monologues and I was horrified that some people don’t have them. My problem is when my internal monologue causes me to make facial expressions. Then I just look crazy to those who can’t hear my thoughts.’

‘I have one… can’t imagine what my brain would be like without one!’

‘Oh definitely! I can’t imagine how anyone could operate without one. I’m constantly narrating my day, a bit like Harrison Ford in Bladerunner (the original, not the Directors Cut, obviously). It does get a bit tiresome sometimes and I often wish that I would just shut up!’

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