Do you have Internal Monologue?

So I’ve just discovered that most people have an internal monologue. I thought people don’t really think in structured sentence and phrases in their head. I thought it’s just metaphorical in the movie! The way I think is definitely not verbal. They are just floating abstract concepts. I don’t have an internal monologue on what I’m going to do today etc, its just ideas without verbal words. I can do an internal monologue but it’s unnatural. And I’ve always thought if you need to verbally think in your mind then it will be really slow.
“I n-e-e-d t-o b-u-y m-i-l-k t-o-d-a-y”

And now I’ve been wondering whether that affects the way I write. I’m trying to venture into creative writing and when my colleague tells me that her characters ‘speak’ in her mind, that is just mind-blowing to me. I’m struggling to do that. I was happy enough that I did not have aphantasia and can visualize in my mind. But to think verbally is just weird.

So, just want to ask around, do you guys have an internal monologue?

Internal Monologue


When you are thinking about writing sentences do you see the letters/words you are writing? Can you easily memorize a sentence word for word? I’m kind of curious on how you do things generally when never doing this at all.

Verbally thinking in my head happens faster than verbally reading so I can verbally think in my head at over 800wpm.
Not sure if you find that slow or fast.

I often have other characters monologues in my head so I definitely understand this. Do you find it perhaps easier to visualize the character and have them speak in your mind?

I particularly have a range of different voices in my head but I can equally so think visually. Doesn’t seem weird to me either way.

This is also called subvocalization.

So yes I do have an internal monologue, I can freely turn it off and turn it on but it feels natural to turn on, for example when thinking verbally using different languages, translating one from the other in this way feels extremely natural.


Hey Helma,

I never thought about that, but I have to say that I have an internal monologue.
I dont know if I do this the whole day, but when I think about a more difficult problem I starting to speak with myself. Sometimes, this internal monologue gets external. (When nobody is in the room :smiley: )

But I would say its not a common conversation ( maybe this effect is stronger by other people), its more to think and discuss my solving approaches or thoughts about a topic.

Its interesting that not all people do that. :smiley: I thought it would be normal to talk with myself in this way.
Good to know its not like that.

Kind regards,



I do have an internal monologue. It’s like talking out loud, but in your brain. An imaginary friend, if you may. I find it helpful, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like without it.


Yes and no. My thoughts are best described as a combination of visual pictures and inner monologue.

Visual thinking is blurry most of the time. For instance think of a house. It will likely be rather a concept of a house. You don’t see all the windows and can’t tell how many there are unless you pay attention to it. Same for most other details. How does the entrance door look like? What color is it?

It’s the same for my inner monologue. It is kind of blurry in an acoustic way, like distant mumbling.Yet I know the concept behind it.

As said, my thoughts aren’t exclusively one or the other in most cases. Imagine blurry pictures, combined with mumbling.


I suppose for most people is like @Finwing says: a combination of visual pictures and inner monologue, combined with feelings, I suppose.
Because of my work, I have to teach in different languages, and when I prepare my classes, or in other moments, for instance when I am thinking what to say to someone, I have to decide the language of my interior monologue.


I do, and it’s always on.

I’m also autistic, and I think autistic people without one are less likely to have reliable speech. Temple Grandin is known for being an autistic woman who is a highly visual thinker. I’m the opposite in a sense.

I do have some images, like when I remember situations in my life or use my imagination, but those images are naturally fuzzy/blurry unless I use memory techniques to enhance them.

I was always better at giving oral reports in school than writing papers, and I have trouble taking notes because I can’t listen to a professor and write down notes at the same time. I’ve been told this relates to my auditory “learning style”, but I’ve also read that learning styles may be an outdated and incorrect concept.

When I read, my internal monologue is the written text I am reading.


Also on the autism spectrum, and I agree with most of what you say, although I have more vivid visual imagery. Terrible at public speaking, but better with written reports. Also find it difficult to listen and write at the same time. Lectures - no. And when I read, my internal monologue is the text I’m reading as well.


I can memorize sentence word by word. I definitely subvocalized when I read, I think. But internal monologue as a way to think is strange to me. It feels unnatural for me to think by verbally speaking in my mind. The way I think is very abstract. like an image or idea in my mind that is not verbally spoken out. I’m not sure if anyone can understand tht.


I always thought that imaginary friend is so far fetched. haha.

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blurry visual and mumbling verbal thought. somehow that is more relatable!

The thinking is far quicker than any monologue, concept ordering or sorting out. Thinking is drill ! The language we speak ist nothing but drill. The drilling in primary schools is the basic of further learning. Drill any new concept until it sticks. Memory is nothing more than getting with drill the correct drill. You can drill your memory at any time. The brain seems to like drills !

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BlockquoteI’m also autistic, and I think autistic people without one are less likely to have reliable speech. Temple Grandin is known for being an autistic woman who is a highly visual thinker. I’m the opposite in a sense.

Have you been examined scientifically? It’s just that basically people with Asperger Syndrome primarily have image thinking, like Daniel Tammet. It’s just that I always had pronounced disorders of the autism spectrum, but my thinking is of a mixed type. Although now I decided to try to think purely visually, like Tesla, and this really positively affects the effectiveness of my thinking and indicators in remembering. Indeed, an internal dialogue is needed in order to learn speech. Einstein did not speak until almost four years old. I started talking as early as 9 months. But, when this stage passes, the phonetic loop becomes of little use.

I think it varies, at least according to Temple Grandin:


I can confirm that it varies depending on the situation. I have some of all of them, though I primarily rely on narrated visual images in my brain. If I need to recall the order of the planets for example, I mentally draw the solar system and all eight planets are there, in perfect order. If I need to recall something more unfamiliar, I rely mostly on mnemonics. For example, if I need to recall the president in 1958, my first instinct would be the Animaniacs Presidents song, which has a line saying “It’s Eisenhower who’s got the power from '53 to '61”, and since 1958 is in there, I know the answer. If I need to recall what comes before the Tonian period in geology, I have to sing an entire song I wrote before I recall it’s the Stenian.

It seems that I mostly rely on visual information in my brain. Although my brain is poorly suited to things like 3D landscapes and traditional memory palaces, it works better with technical diagrams and maps (this is actually how I navigate most landscapes!) and songs and singing. To recall the order of the electromagnetic spectrum, I just sing a song I invented randomly while thinking about it, to the do-re-mi scale. (Radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays, done!) This also generates a diagram I can reference in my brain as I sing that song interestingly.


I had never thought of this, so thanks for posting.

I’m with @Finwing. I think I mix the two in different situations, but I’ll have to pay attention to it to figure out what happens when. When I read silently, I definitely convert the words on the page to audio in my mind, but sometimes enter a sort of flow state where it become visual, and then can depart from the text into my own imagination of the story. I’ve heard others describe this before.

When I’m thinking, I often hear the words in my head, but it can accelerate faster than my ability to comprehend the words. Maybe I can analyse it later with words, but the connection/thought/decision happens much faster.

Cool concept.


Thanks a lot. Really useful stuff. Although, as I know from Daniel’s book, he was not brilliantly good at mathematics in the classical sense of the word. He blamed the structure of the formulas, where the letters replaced the numbers with which he had a synasthetic connection. And to define a person as a brilliant mathematician only because of the ability to count in the mind is extremely stupid. Another practice of Jacob Trachtenberg showed that children with mental retardation can well be taught quick counting techniques. That does not make them able to understand set theory or contribute to the theory of large unification.

Like others here, I do both. I’m very verbal and when I’m relaxed there is a constant narrative running through my head. I hear the sound of a physical voice.

But if I’m deeply engaged in something whether chess or physical activity, my thoughts still come as a narrative sequence but not in English, a sequence of chess moves or body movements. Likewise if working through some math problem. These may come as visual scenes. I will get some kind of image of the board as I imagine playing the moves but my comprehension is not visual.


I have internal monologues all day long, everyday, with differents parts of my personality, I subdivided in imaginary friends ( if I need strength I use one, if I need encouragement another, etc). :blush:

I don’t think I have much of an internal monologue. Only when I read do I hear my voice in my head but in every other situation I think visually, still with words but I guess more in scenes and settings?

Just when I see the numbers vividly during a calculation, I also see the imagery when I think very vividly. The down side of this is that it is so vivid, that I don’t see what is in front of me. I’ve had moments where I would cross the street on my bike without even looking at traffic because I was thinking about something, so it’s dangerous even. It also makes following conversations somewhat difficult because I can easily drift off mid conversation, I have to really put effort in listening to other people. Imagine a large screen popping up with your thoughts on it, it is really distracting.

It’s like having a tv screen with two channels, 1 is the real world and the other is my thought. If I want to see one as vivid as possible then I can’t see the other. If I want to see both then one takes like 90% of the screen and the other one takes up 10% of the screen. The one that takes 90% of the screen is like 1080p while the one that takes 10% is like 480p to 720p.

When it comes to dreams it can be both a plusside and a downside. My dreams are very vivid and detailed. This can be fun when I have a lucid dream but it is a nightmare when I have a scary dream. Think of dreams inside a dream and being stuck in a loop, kinda stuff. Sometimes I am scared to go back to sleep after those dreams.