Alright, Internet. This one’s a doozy. A Twitter user by the name @KylePlantEmoji found out that people’s brains function differently. And to be honest, his revelation is shocking—and sort of scary.
Kyle tweeted that he’d just found out that some people do not have an internal narrative—they “just have abstract non-verbal thoughts.”
Fun fact: some people have an internal narrative and some don't— Kyle🌱 (@KylePlantEmoji) January 27, 2020
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
It seems like sort of a crazy tweet, right? It sort of just pops up on your feed, slams down its intense revelatory wisdom, and then drops the proverbial mic.
According to Psychology Today, “Human beings talk to themselves every moment of the waking day. Most readers of this sentence are doing it now… In fact, we talk to ourselves during dreams, and there is even evidence for inner speech during deep sleep, the most unconscious state we normally encounter. Overt speech takes up perhaps a tenth of the waking day, but inner speech goes on all the time.”
But some people don’t have it, because some people think in feelings, images, symbols—without a voice or words.
And yes, this did blow the Internet’s mind, if they could even get their minds around it. Like, don’t we all talk inside our heads all day long?
My brain is just a god damn podcast that never ends
— BERNIE 4 ’20 (@ZeroHand_Love) January 27, 2020
Suddenly, it was like the Internet was taking a theoretical physics class or smoking a very fat joint together:
Can people hear songs. Like if I’m thinking of a song I can like play it in my head and I can hear it
— Madeleine (@madde_rose) January 27, 2020
The voice in my head is ADHD and on crack and it’s ruining my life
— 𝐙 (@howd9rk) January 27, 2020
It feels impossible to imagine a world where a person doesn’t have an internal dialogue…
I’ve always thought this was so interesting. I think in sentences and though I know not everybody does, I find it impossible to imagine how non-verbal thought works.
— Beverly Tjerngren 🌊🌊🌊 (@beverlyrevelry) January 27, 2020
all of a sudden i forgot how to think
— ellie🌻 (@ElenaFoxe) January 27, 2020
I genuinely have full conversations with myself in my head. I’d get so bored if I didn’t have an internal monologue.
— Cum Goblin (@ProstateWizard) January 27, 2020
Even really, really, super, smart people (like this historian below) couldn’t quite figure it out.
Still thinking loads about the phenomenon of ‘inner speech’ and the stat that apparently only twenty six per cent of people experience it (which seems completely mad to me, I can’t understand what it’s like not to). https://t.co/eVNA9Q2t4q— Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley (@lottelydia) May 7, 2019
Some people, of course, described also thinking in abstractions that just couldn’t be put into words:
reading thread, feeling like my thought processes work differently from most people; it’s making me feel ill at ease. i often think in narration – i have a ‘voice’ i hear for it – but just as often, in feelings/abstractions/an ‘understanding’ that can’t be put into words. help
— 🔻🟡🟥⚪🔺 (@lou_evil) January 27, 2020
I’ve always been jealous of people who can hear their thoughts. Verbalizing abstract though is so hard and makes me feel dumb. It’s a skill you have to learn.
— please pee here (@pleasepeehere) January 28, 2020
Being a non-verbal thinker it annoys me that I have to almost speak out what I’m writing and reading. But I love the silence and imagining mathematical theorems.
— Troels Holm (@Garfir) January 29, 2020
The non-verbal thinkers seem to struggle with translating the thoughts, too:
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
— human capote🕷️ (@shelbzazaaz) January 27, 2020
In fact, some people don’t see images in their minds, either.
A friend of mine has no mental images at all. It’s called antaphantasia and for years he thought when people said, “picture in your mind…” that it was just a metaphor.
We spent hours comparing memory, dreams, and other brain-related experiences. 🤓
— Anti-War Audrey (@HedwigGraymalk) January 27, 2020
also have antaphantasia, i thought it was a metaphor for the longest time as well. wasn’t until i read a book when i was younger where they were explaining “mental images” when i was like oh this is REAL?
— charlie (is inactive ✌😔) (@charleful) January 27, 2020
Then, a guy named Ryan Langdon saw the tweet and wrote about it on his blog after talking to his Instagam followers about it:
“My day was completely ruined yesterday when I stumbled upon a fun fact that absolutely obliterated my mind. I saw this tweet yesterday that said that not everyone has an internal monologue in their head. All my life, I could hear my voice in my head and speak in full sentences as if I was talking out loud. I thought everyone experienced this, so I did not believe that it could be true at that time,” he wrote.
So he then posted a poll on Instagram “to get a more accurate assessment of the situation. Currently, 91 people have responded that they have an internal monologue and 18 people reported that they do not have this. I began asking those people questions about the things that they experience and it is quite different from the majority.”
Here are some of the responses he got from his Instagram poll:
He ended by saying, “Well, as I write this and as I hear my own voice in my head, I am continuing to fall down the rabbit hole.”