Thinking in your own voice

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Randy Savicky
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Thinking in your own voice

I came across story think that states that most imaginary voices are male (even for females that hear imaginary voices). This reminded me of something I pondered a few years ago when I asked my then fiancee and friends if they "think in their own voice". That is to say when you silently think your thoughts, do you hear your own voice? I also asked if they could think in other voices, such as John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, or Mr. T. I can certainly do it, but it certainly is more effort than thinking in my own voice.

Some friends thought I was nuts for asking, while others knew exactly what I was talking about. I forget what my then fiancee' thought. She probably thought I was crazy but married me anyway... So now stop reading and starting thinking some thoughts and try to determine whose voice it is. Several people wigged out and equated trying to figure out who voice it was to nails on chalkboard or trying to ponder "If God created the universe, who created God? And who was the creator of the entity that created God?" so on and so forth... It hurt their brains too much to think about.

I'm not the only one who thinks about thinking in your own voice.
This Google Groups thread is pretty funny, read this link, and read all the posts (click on links on left side): http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&threadm=a8f803...

Here are some tidbits copy/pasted:


Okay -- this is the sort of thing I waste my time thinking about.

When you thinks in spoken words -- that is, as opposed to thinking in images or in written words -- do you think in your own voice?

Now, the immediate response might be that you don't think in any voice. It's a thought, and voices are sounds. But clearly, if I were to say, "think of a particular line as said by Orson Welles, or James Stewart, or Bugs Bunny, or Marilyn Monroe, you would think of that
line *with* those particular voices attached. So we clearly can attach voices to the words that we think.

The question is -- when we don't consciously attach a voice to the words that we think -- who's "voice" is it? Do we automatically attach our own voice -- or at least our own sense of our own voice -- to words that we think?

Clearly, if we are male, and we think words, the words we think don't have a female voice. If we have a particular accent, we certainly don't "think" words in a different accent. So if one is a Southern male, one's internal voice is, I assume, the voice of a southern male. But is it the voice of that one particular southern male -- you.

And if it is -- does it change as one grows up? I honestly don't recall the thoughts of my childhood as being in a "child's" voice. Nor do I have any sense of my "internal" voice as having grown deeper in timber as I've grown older.

If one learns a foreign language fluently, one begins to think in that language. But a foreign speaker may speak with a very heavy accent. When they think in the learned language they are speaking, do they think in that accent? When Arnold Schwarzenneger thinks something in
English, does the thought have the same intonation as when he speaks? And if not -- in what accent would he "think" those words?

And if one mastered the intonation of a learned language, so that your accent was essentially cleaned up -- would you then think in the new cleaned-up accent?

I raised this subject with my twelve-year old son. He told me to stop talking about it because it was annoying him to think about it. I asked him what voice he was thinking in when he thought about it. He wasn't amused.

Anyway -- that's what I've been thinking about lately.

 "Dena Jo" wrote in message news:...
> > When you thinks in spoken words -- that is, as opposed to thinking in
> > images or in written words -- do you think in your own voice?
>
> It's clearly mine own. And after watching a British film or Masterpiece
> Theatre, for about three hours, it's clearly my own but with an English
> accent. (Not a joke. That really happens to me. But I went to university
> in England, and so I slip in and out of the accent quite easily, although
> not by choice.)

Thank God I'm not the only one. I take on voices of other people or from movies for a while and I hear them in my head until I return to my own normal voice.

And speaking of which voice I think in, I think in my own voice but my own voice feels *transparent* to me, whatever that may mean. If it were a color, it'd be clear. And like someone else said, when I actually hear my own voice on tape, it's shockingly different. I'm
horrified at how annoying it is and wonder why people even bother talking to me.

I also speak another language fluently and although I usually think in English, sometimes I find that English doesn't have the precise word with the exact flavor that I want, so I insert a different word from another language. And when I switch languages, I find that my whole
way of thinking changes and I feel like a different cultural entity altogether.

So the question is, what voice do you prefer to think in? When with guy friends, I'm partial to Homer Simpson (Doh!) or Butthead (Uhhhhhhh...) - for one syllable thoughts anyway.
 



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