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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.
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.
Buddhist perspectives 
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, sort of like a Jenga puzzle or concept map, where each thought is part of a system and is related to other thoughts.
Related concepts 
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.
There is uncertainty about what the source of these internal sentences are in some conditions. Attribution for a recently produced internal sentence may lead to concerns over schizophrenia, hallucinations, or hearing voices. Experiments have shown that "cerebral asymmetry is reduced in schizophrenia." That while performing "verb-generation" and "semantic decision" tasks the people with schizophrenia showed an "increased activation in the right hemisphere." While in psychosis a typical schizophrenic may speak in word salads and may write profusely.
Contemplation attempts to calm the internal voice by dogmatic 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.
See also 
- 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
- Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy ~ Katsuki Sekida (Author)