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Author Topic: Internal Monologue Survey  (Read 710 times)
Onio
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« on: June 01, 2023 @789.00 »

Hello! I have a survey that I'm asking people to participate in. It's about experiencing an internal monologue.

The survey is here: https://forms.gle/M2FervLgw1vmh14p9

About the survey:

Yesterday my friend was reading a book, and while he was reading it, he looked over to me and asked, "Do you ever have to reread something that you just read?" and a light bulb went off in my head. I responded, "Do you have an internal monologue?" and he said, "Yes!" I asked, "Do your thoughts distract you from reading?" and he said, "They do!"

I had just watched an interview of someone who doesn't experience an inner monologue, or the voice that some of us experience and use to think. They had mentioned that they are a very quick reader, and that they rarely ever daydream. I had heard of people who didn't experience this voice before, and at first it was difficult for me to comprehend what that must be like. However, by the time this video had popped up into my feed, I had lived life a little a longer and experienced times where I had felt grounded in the present moment, and those were times where that voice/internal monologue wasn't so active.

That voice, however, hasn't gone away entirely, and it can be particularly active if I'm anxious, sometimes acting out potential conversations in the future, reenacting conversations in the past, sometimes arguing or reasoning with myself in the form of thoughts. It's the same voice that might keep me awake or say, "Why did I do this or say that?" or "I need to go do 'x' about 'y'." This isn't too uncommon, it seems. However, for many people watching that interview, they seemed surprised how people could live without the presence of that voice, some going as far as to call the interviewee a liar.

As the interview goes on, they talk about how they are able to read very quickly, how they always have to be doing something, how they can answer a question or provide a response without thinking in words what they are about to say. They also mention how they don't recall things said in discussion past the same day, and that they don't really think about the distant past, and how they don't daydream.

The more I thought about this, the more that it seemed to me that the interviewee is a very present person, and is most comfortable and most used to being in the present moment, in the here and now. The interviewer seems, much like myself, to be more fixated on the future, the past, or apt to get lost in thought or in daydreams. It also seemed as if the inner monologue was almost like a coping mechanism, something that could shield the person from the fear or pain of the present moment via a sense of control - that control being the voice used to keep track of and make sense of everything. I could also see how someone who would use this voice to process reality, would also daydream when they're not needing to problem solve - as opposed to someone who doesn't daydream and feels comfortable in the present moment. This made a lot of sense to me.

Of course, I could be totally wrong, and I am very open to that. Just because something sounds reasonable doesn't make it true. So that's why I made this survey, to see if there's actually any semblance of validity behind the idea, before bringing it up with others in daily conversation.

So.. I created an anonymous Google Forms survey that asks about the internal monologue. I'm hoping to reach 1,000 responses before I look at the results to see if there is actually a pattern there or not. I'll report back here when that happens (however long that may take.)

If you'd like to contribute, you can fill out the survey yourself. I don't ask for any person information nor collect email addresses. It would also help if you shared the survey, as reaching 1,000 people could prove difficult for me.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2023 @795.03 by Onio » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2023 @799.66 »

Currently too tired to respond to your post in detail, but I just completed the survey:) interesting read!
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2023 @906.20 »

Seems to require Google login (at least for me). Any way you can turn that off as a requirement? :smile:
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2023 @963.10 »

I think I may have Internal Monologue, but it's probably more in the form of an attention disorder like ADD or ADHD.

It's very easy to get distracted by my own thoughts, I barely get anything done because of it.

I don't have enough energy to write another essay about it tho.

I completed the survey but am unsure if I answered correctly.
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2023 @163.00 »

I've seen the topic of internal monologues around (kind of relevant to my work field) and you sure put a new spin to it!

I do have an internal monologue that distracts me from reading sometimes, but other times it's just thoughts in image form. Like a powerpoint presentation that leaves no place for the book's words. But that mostly happens when what I'm reading really bores me. I do have a voice when I'm anxious, but istg it's not mine lol. A few weeks ago I stayed at a friend's place for a week and the night before leaving my house I was laying awake at fuck o' clock and my anxiety went "and she told you you can only stay for one night!!!! what will you do the rest of the week???!!!", at which point i suddenly sat like Frankenstein finding out what life is and went "SHE LITERALLY DID NOT SAY THAT??????". But that's just the nature of anxiety for ya lol, it does tend to be a quite chatty feeling.

Having an internal monologue or not has also sometimes been linked to being bilingual/a polyglot or not! Apparently speaking more than one language from youth makes you think in images, rather than words. Like I said, I feel like my thoughts are often pictures or feelings, and I am on my way of learning my third language, so I guess I can vouch for that. I read the research like five years ago and don't remember the author/s or where I read it (even what language it was in...) but if you're interested in the topic and you're in a mood for a research rabbit hole, that might be an interesting one  :smile:

Completing the survey now!
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devils
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2023 @397.53 »

Definitely an interesting survey! I am part of a system, so my internal monologue is more of an internal dialogue. It's hard to explain, but they're essentially multiple consciousness with different outlooks on life going on at once.

Despite this, I'm/we're fairly good at focusing on reading, drawing, coding, playing video games... Since we all work together to achieve a common goal, those are kind of the only times we agree on everything, ahah!
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2023 @698.47 »

Just filled out your survey! It was definitely interesting to fill out, I don't normally give thought to what my internal monologue is like.
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2023 @106.15 »

oh i love this topic -- did your survey!

whenever i talk with like a group of friends i'm usually like, one of the only ones without an internal monologue. and i can't wrap my head around what that would be like! whenever i force myself to have an internal monologue it's like i'm thinking in slow motion...

a related question is when you read text (like these words right now), do you hear a voice reading them? i don't, but apparently a lot of people do, which is also wild to me!

so to compare myself with the interviewee: i can read very fast, i am the type of person that's always doing something, and i can definitely say things / answer questions w/o thinking in words about what i'm about to say. however i will say that i do think about the past very often, and i do tend to daydream / get lost in my thoughts. those thoughts don't involve an internal monologue though, unless i'm thinking about what i'd say to someone else.

i'm actually very bad at being grounded in the moment / with mindfullness insofar as i often don't notice the physical cues my body gives me (like i'm hungry, i'm sitting in an uncomfortable position, etc.) and i am an anxious worrier! so i don't know if having an internal monologue really correlates to being present in the moment, but it's an interesting theory!
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2023 @519.38 »

Interesting survey, filled it out. Good to note: Some of the questions are repeated in the 3rd part.

It seems from the posts here that a potential hypothesis is: less internal monologue = more grounded in the present. Looking at myself, I have a very strong internal monologue. One that reads everything aloud, even as I'm writing this. It is so loud that it can distract me even if I'm really focused on something, like reading a book. I've grown into the pattern of going in and out of inner thoughts every few minutes basically.

I see how this could be perceived as overwhelming by others who don't experience it. I mostly see it as a blessing: My mind processes information very fast, which helps for my work. The flipside is that I am way less grounded in the present, and instead spend more time in my head pondering the past and future. I also have anxiety. I think it's a win some, lose some thing.
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2023 @719.03 »

I remember having a smaller version of a similar feeling where I was once watching some videos with tips about how to take, organize, and remember notes on things you're reading (geared towards grad students) and was confused by the way the speaker suggested that she likes to understand & notate the book in its own words first, without adding any of her own thoughts in until after she's done immersing herself in it. And I really can't imagine that as a method of understanding. The translation process is always happening! If I'm not translating into my own words as I go, I'm not really thinking about it and the words aren't really penetrating.

I have actually found that some authors have a style I just can't read because I'm constantly translating in my head to the way I would write it/what I think sounds more natural and over time it really bogs me down and gets distracting. Never been able to read the Narnia books for that reason lol
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2023 @533.78 »

I remember having a smaller version of a similar feeling where I was once watching some videos with tips about how to take, organize, and remember notes on things you're reading (geared towards grad students) and was confused by the way the speaker suggested that she likes to understand & notate the book in its own words first, without adding any of her own thoughts in until after she's done immersing herself in it. And I really can't imagine that as a method of understanding. The translation process is always happening! If I'm not translating into my own words as I go, I'm not really thinking about it and the words aren't really penetrating.
I agree with you. And I feel like it would take more energy to quiet my own train of thought and only register what is written. :ohdear:
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2023 @134.80 »

My internal monologue constructs poems in my head throughout the day. Sometimes I write them down.

When it comes to reading, sometimes my internal monologue distracts me, if I'm disinterested or otherwise distracted about something that's on my mind. I'll go back and reread what I missed
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