Do You Have An Inner Monologue? It’s More Rare Than You Think

This article may contain affiliate links, learn more.

Have you ever thought about how you, well, think? It sounds confusing as a concept, but ponder it for a moment. When you move about the world every day, how do you process all that’s happening around you? Do you repeat words, see images, interpret senses? Once you get past the self-aware circular thinking of it all, figuring out how it is you take in the endless amounts of information we receive can be rather interesting.

It can also lead to fascinating research, like that being done into the concept of an ‘inner monologue’.

Are you interested in learning more about what your inner monologue is telling you? Tap into the 4,000-year-old science of Numerological Analysis with a FREE Numerology video report!

That’s right, the numerology of your birth date, can help you discover detailed information about who you truly are and what is hiding in your subconscious. You won’t believe how accurate it is!

Click HERE to learn what Numerology says about your life using only your Birth Date.

Do You Have An Inner Monologue?

You might if you frequently get songs stuck in your head, or you’re able to perfectly remember and play out dialogue from your favorite movies all within your mind. The biggest and perhaps easiest tell is whether or not you ‘hear’ a voice speaking the words that you’re reading right now.

Scrabble letter tiles scattered on a table.
Unsplash / Sven Brandsma
Unsplash / Sven Brandsma

If you don’t, no need to fret, it might actually be less common than you think.

What Is An Inner Monologue?

An inner monologue is a ‘voice’ you hear inside your head. It can serve as an extension of yourself, ‘speaking’ thoughts aloud as they pop up, or as a sort of third-party observer that narrates your actions.

A man with a mic before a crowd.
Unsplash / Marcos Luiz Photograph
Unsplash / Marcos Luiz Photograph

People with inner monologues can sometimes converse with it, knowing it isn’t a separate entity, but still using it as a means of brainstorming or organizing thoughts. It sounds a bit abstract for those who don’t have one, but it’s truly like having a second copy of yourself drifting around in your brain.

The Dimensions Of Inner Monologues

There are a few different axes on which your inner voice, should you have one, can be measured and categorized.

A woman with her hands to her temples as she thinks.
Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

Condensation is how concise it is. When you hear it in your hear, does it speak in long sentences and use descriptive language? Or is it short, giving very to-the-point responses?

Dialogality is about what your inner monologue actually sounds like. For example, when reading a section of dialogue in a novel, are you able to give both characters a distinct voice, or are you hearing your own voice read both sides?

Intentionality is more self-explanatory. Do you control this inner voice? Are you able to tune in and out of it at will? Or does it appear and start talking without any real effort on your part?

What Causes An Inner Monologue?

It’s caused by a brain signal called corollary discharge, which actually happens in all humans. It’s what helps us differentiate between external and internal stimuli. For example, corollary discharge is why we believe our voice sounds different when we speak aloud versus hearing it in a recording, or how we’re able to know when pain is being caused by a muscle cramp compared to a bruise in the same spot.

A man looking into a window, his reflection staring back.
Unsplash / Laurenz Kleinheider
Unsplash / Laurenz Kleinheider

It Never Stops

As psychologist Helene Brenner explained, “Inner speech is the product of the default mode network or DMN of the brain. It’s a network of different areas of the brain that become very active, all together, when we’re not engaged in doing anything task-oriented—when we’re just thinking or daydreaming. It turns out it never fully stops either—it just gets suppressed and more actively engaged we get.”

A plastic model of a brain, cut in half.
Unsplash / Robina Weermeijer
Unsplash / Robina Weermeijer

Less Than Half Even Have It

A recent study by psychology professor Russell Hurlburt suggests that only 30-50% of people have a running inner monologue.

A woman holding a bundle of string lights.
Pexels / Matheus Bertelli
Pexels / Matheus Bertelli

Of course, it’s a tad more complex than that. Some people experience an inner monologue only sometimes, while some had one in childhood that eventually faded away, but this study addressed those who have a frequent, present inner monologue in adulthood.

What’s It like Without An Inner Monologue?

For those who don’t have inner monologues, it can be hard to describe how they process thoughts instead. Researchers have narrowed it down into four other categories outside of what they call ‘inner speech’ that explain different forms of thinking methods.

A woman walking in the snow, pulling her coat hood up.
Pexels / Kristin Vogt
Pexels / Kristin Vogt

Inner seeing is the ability to conjure up images and scenes that aren’t directly in front of you, like picturing how you want to decorate a room or imagining your dream vacation spot.

Unsymbolized thinking is when you think on auto-pilot. It’s especially common in our daily routines. For example, when taking a shower or brushing your teeth, you don’t need every step pictured or read out to you, you just go through the motions.

Feeling is, well, feeling! This form of thought process focuses solely on one’s emotional response to a given situation and how they acknowledge those feelings.

Sensory awareness does away with words and pictures, instead drawing attention to the way an environment impacts your senses. If you walk outside in the middle of winter, sensory awareness would mean not directly acknowledging the cold, but registering the bite of windchill on your hands or the sound of snow crunching beneath your boots.

Why Do Some People Not Have An Inner Monologue?

The unfortunate answer is that we don’t know. Research into this topic is still young. We haven’t even fully grasped the concept of an inner voice, let alone turning the tables and finding out why there are those without one.

A woman holding a mug while seated at a table.
Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez
Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez

There has been one link discovered though. Remember inner seeing? Some people are unable to do this, too. This is called aphantasia, and it’s when someone is completely unable to picture things in their mind. Those with aphantasia are more likely to lack an inner voice as well, which is now being called anauralia.

Pros And Cons

Are there any benefits to having an inner monologue? Absolutely!

A greyscale image of someone holding their hands up, blocking their face.
Unsplash / M.T ElGassier
Unsplash / M.T ElGassier

Benefits of having one include increased skills in planning, problem solving, self-motivation, and emotional regulation. It also functions wonderfully as a means of practicing things like presentations, auditions, or other public speaking events, you function as your own audience that can even provide feedback!

It’s not all positive, though. Those with inner monologues are prone to self-esteem issues. Having a critical, constantly aware voice in your head can really get to a person, causing an increased risk of neurotic and anxious thought patterns.

How We See The World

Knowing there are people out there who process life through entirely different means is incredibly fascinating. This knowledge only proves that we humans are beautiful, unique creatures with equally beautiful, unique experiences.

A silhouette of a woman meditating on a wooden deck.
Unsplash / Jared Rice
Unsplash / Jared Rice

Whether you have an inner monologue or not, let it be known that no method of thought can ever put a limit on your creativity, your intelligence, or your infinite wisdom. All stories like this do is remind us how wonderfully different we all are.

Are you interested in learning more about the way you think and interpret the world? Tap into the 4,000-year-old science of Numerological Analysis with a FREE Numerology video report!

That’s right, the numerology of your birth date, regardless of your Zodiac sign, can help you discover detailed information about who you truly are and what is hiding in your subconscious. You won’t believe how accurate it is!

Click HERE to learn what Numerology says about your life using only your Birth Date.

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He’s a strong believer in using one’s beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer.

He can’t wait to share his insights with a[…]