Internal monologue, also known as inner voice, internal speech, or verbal stream of consciousness is thinking in words. It also refers to the semi-constant internal monologue one has with oneself at a conscious or semi-conscious level (see Default mode network).
Much of what people consciously report "thinking about" may be thought of as an internal monologue, a conversation with oneself. Some of this can be considered as speech rehearsal.
In the Zen tradition, there is the phrase "Nen nen ju shin ki" which means something like "Thought following thought." Sometimes this concept is translated with the help of the words "first nen" and "second nen" where each "nen" is a reaction to the previous one. We can think of our thoughts, memories, visualizations, or sensations as good or bad, and as true or false. Particularly with the judgment of word-thought as true or false we continue this reactionary "nen" process. Another way to think of thoughts is as in context, somewhat like a Jenga puzzle or concept map, where each thought is part of a system and is related to other thoughts.
In the Christian tradition, an "inner voice" may refer to the Conscience (Romans 2:15), or the active communication of God through the Holy Spirit. For example, the New Testament Gospel of Mark 13:11 records a statement Jesus made to His Disciples who were being (or were to be) persecuted for their faith: "Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit."
Biblical references to the "heart" (Genesis 6:5; Matthew 15:18,19) involve the thought-life and attitude of a person, and can thus be identified with the "place" where internal monologue occurs.
- In fiction, when one person reads the mind of another, it is often described as being able to hear this internal monologue as if it were said out loud.
- When people read, their internal monologue actually moves their muscles slightly as if they were speaking; this is called subvocalizing.
- In some medical or mental conditions there is uncertainty about the source of internal sentences. Attribution for an internal monologue may lead to concerns over schizophrenia, hallucinations, or hearing voices.
- Contemplation attempts to calm the internal voice by various means.
- In the philosophical field of language there is much research about internal speech in correlation with the building and usage of phrases in one's own idiom and thus the importance of language in the process of thinking.
- Auditory hallucination
- Cognitive response model
- Free association
- Hearing Voices Movement
- Internal discourse
- Interior locution
- Intrapersonal communication
- Talk aloud protocol
- David Strassman
- Cognitive linguistics
- Philosophy of mind
- William James
- Visual thinking
- Human self-reflection
- Stream of consciousness (narrative mode)
- Language of thought
- Language and thought
- Sapir–Whorf hypothesis
- "BZC: January 2003". Berkeleyzencenter.org. 1982-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy ~ Katsuki Sekida (Author)
- "Mark 13:11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit". Bible.cc. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- Tumanov, Vladimir. Mind Reading: Unframed Direct Interior Monologue in European Fiction. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 1997. Googlebooks.
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