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View Poll Results: Do you think mostly in words or not?

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  • Think in words

    48 42.48%
  • Not think in words (I'm not sure of all the different ways people would think in.)

    65 57.52%
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  1. #41
    To the top of the world arcticangel02's Avatar
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    Hmm. This is a very interesting thread.

    I don't think in words at all. Not in a voice in my head, or seeing the words written out, nothing like that. The only time words come into it is when I deliberately generate them for an imagined dialogue, or something.

    My thoughts, well, when I'm really, actively thinking about something, I suppose they're something like 'videos' (I'll play scenarios through my mind) or 'images' (ideas about what something will or does look like, though they're more 3d in that way...). Feelings and sensation may enter into it a little bit, but a lot of my serious thought is future and idea-based, thus neutral and detatched from any sort of here-and-now reality.

    But regular thought... well, the vast majority of the time they're just 'ideas', they're 'thoughts', by no means as constrained as a simple film of images or something. They flit and mutate and run amok. I can barely keep track of them. There's not really any way to describe them. They grab ahold of stuff that I see or hear or even think and explode it into a thousand off-shoots of thought, a few of which will be pursued and exploded and so on. :P

    So, when I want to put words to something, I often end up speaking in a stream-of-consciousness way, exploring how to put the idea into language through doing so. It just comes out and the words are there to catch it and communicate it. They usually do okay - I'll work around it if there are any difficulties.

    The main issue I have when putting ideas into words are when it's more of an opinion, or my assessment of a situation which could either be touchy or something - then my words get stuck. I sometimes really struggle to put across what I mean together with the intention I have. It's easy in my head.

    It's funny how a word as simple as 'thought' or 'idea' makes perfect sense to the user, and when we use it, we mean a concept that is really quite complex and difficult to pin down. But there it is, contained in one little word. We tend to forget that our inherant perception of an 'idea' could well be totally and completely alien to the person next to us.
    ANFP:
    Extraversion (52%) ---- Introversion (48%)
    Sensing (26%) ---- iNtuition (74%)
    Thinking (16%) ---- Feeling (84%)
    Judging (5%) ---- Perceiving (95%)

    9w1 so/sx/sp

  2. #42
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    Hi. This is my first post here. Some folks here have encountered me before on INFPgc, but most of you I have never met before. It's interesting to read all of these thoughts and see the type in most cases sitting beside the thought. I like to collect these thoughts and observations and form them into patterns that can used to recognize attributes of different kinds of people, to make the information available to my intuition. Or at least that's what I think it's good for.

    Thinking for me is a mix of in words, except the words are remembered as sounds, and of mental processing that thinks in images. There is much inner dialog between the two. One will ask a question in words like "Did you turn off the stove?" and the other responds with images that demonstrate the action, or sometimes the latter asks with image and the former replies in words. The two seem to me to fit the definitions of right brain vs. left brain. One thinks in words, and I often speak those words out loud to myself, and it uses logic, and has learned to translate my thoughts into sequential form, and does ok handling detail much of the time, though my short term memory being rather flakey frustrates it's effors. The other thinks in image, and symbol, and is holistic, random and highly intuitive. The later runs the show, but the former contributes a lot.

    I too make great use of feeling tones, but for me they function like labels; like nonverbal nomenclature. Most of my memories have feeling tone labels that I feel when I recall the memory. In my memories from before I learned to talk, I remember many items having these labels. They aren't something that I decide, they just are, or something subconscious determines them. People have feeling tone labels. I usually call this their vibe, but feeling tone label is a good way to describe how I experience a person's vibe. Every person has his/her own unique feel. I feel it when I read someone's words, or when I spend time with them IRL. I don't know how my mind comes up with the feeling tone label. It's seems as if my mind is getting it some how from the person, or from the feel of their inner spirit. I don't know but it's dependable, and after I spend time with someone, or have read several of their posts, I get to where I recognize people by their feeling tone label.

    I'm wondering whether to take this a step further, but it relates I think. I'm also empathic. If a friend of mine is upset with me, I often feel it in them. I feel the emotion they have toward me, and also their feeling tone label. I'll know who it is and what they feel, if it's someone I know and love. And the person doesn't have to be in the room, or even in the country for me to experience this. Maybe that's revealing too much, but it's part of what it's like inside my head, or how I experience thinking, sort of.

  3. #43
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will5250 View Post
    People have feeling tone labels. I usually call this their vibe, but feeling tone label is a good way to describe how I experience a person's vibe. Every person has his/her own unique feel. I feel it when I read someone's words, or when I spend time with them IRL. I don't know how my mind comes up with the feeling tone label. It's seems as if my mind is getting it some how from the person, or from the feel of their inner spirit. I don't know but it's dependable, and after I spend time with someone, or have read several of their posts, I get to where I recognize people by their feeling tone label.

    I'm wondering whether to take this a step further, but it relates I think. I'm also empathic. If a friend of mine is upset with me, I often feel it in them. I feel the emotion they have toward me, and also their feeling tone label. I'll know who it is and what they feel, if it's someone I know and love. And the person doesn't have to be in the room, or even in the country for me to experience this. Maybe that's revealing too much, but it's part of what it's like inside my head, or how I experience thinking, sort of.
    That feeling tone you describe... I think I get that sometimes, but very rarely. I seem to have to know someone very well to get that feeling, and even then I can't always pick up on it except with words they seem to have put a lot of effort into. There are a few people I've never met before that I seem to pick it up with, and I seem to almost always become good friends with such people. What's funny is that I almost always describe/recognize it in terms of a word or connection, although the word or connection often doesn't really make sense or seem to fit them at first, yet usually seems to fit after I've learned more about them.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by quietgirl View Post
    If I'm going through a "dialogue" in my head trying to sort things out, I am actually watching a scene unfolding over "hearing" a voice.
    This is familiar to me. When I talk to myself, I'm not so much talking as I am voicalizing the dialogue I'm hearing in my head.
    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    For instance, I wouldn't think "hmm, I wonder if so and so had a good time at the party"...I would picture their actions in my head and form an overall impression of their feelings, without actually thinking up words for it.
    Yes. I'd just sort of see/sense them at the party and feel their feelings about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I think I think in essences. ...Those things turn in my head into symbols... a collection of impressions, feelings, knowledges I have that always 'swim around' in particular combinations or patterns, around a certain idea... when something triggers me to need to access that idea, it's like I'm 'seeing' an atom or something... there's a nucleus that's its essential meaning or nature, and then many particles that orbit it in different paths/patterns/arrangements... and I can rearrange them if I want to, to see what it might 'swim' like... but I don't really see any of this and couldn't tell you anything even vaguely approaching tangible or whatever, about it. Except that it's very fast.
    This is a fascinating description. I don't know that the atom metaphor is exactly what's going on in my head, but I can relate to the speed and the way "essences" of things spin around and mingle in different combinations. They seem to combine and recombine until the best combination is achieved.
    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade View Post
    If I'm thinking deeply, then I do feeling tones. To me, abstract concepts can be felt. I remember things by feeling and I feel out the connections between things. Once I've internalized something, then words are secondary. But it takes a long time to deeply internalize something.
    I like the phrase "feeling tones"; I've never heard it before, but it makes sense to me. Those essense I spoke of, that spin around and combine with other essences, they have a good bit of feeling attached to them (not emotion, but sort of internal senses). Except for me, they begin on the inside, rather than my internalizing them by a process.
    When you said "horse," I pictured a horse. However, my direct experience of horses is limited. If you had said "cat," then my first response would have been more of a feeling tone mixed with some actual emotion. Things that I've seen before, I'll remember as an image. I don't use imagery for my complex thinking except for a type of visual-spatial feeling tone processing that I'll use, but its more a feeling of relationships than imagery.
    That's a good example. The more experiences I've had with a certain thing, the more complex the feeling-tone.

    I'm not fluent in any foreign language, but I've studied French, Russian, and Hebrew. With French, I attempted to translate the French word into an English word, then the English word into the mental image/feeling/tone associated with it. It was a long and cumbersome process. With Russian and Hebrew, I discovered it was more efficient to skip the translation and just begin to attach the new words directly with the mental images/feelings/experiences. So when I'd eat sour cream, for example, I'd tell myself "smyetana" to build the association between the word and the experience.
    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Sometimes the concepts are word based... often times though I get something like an image or an impression (a vague image/feeling/sensation?). Most of those flashes by extremely quickly unless I deliberately try to hold onto them. Even then they fade away fast and I'm left with a vague sense of something that interests me but darn it I can't bring it into focus in my mind anymore.
    There was a thread a while back about the "stream" of thought that ran deep beneath the surface, and the fact that it was sometimes difficult to tap into that stream quickly enough to catch the thoughts before they passed on by. I feel that quite often. I'm perfectly aware of that stream of thought, but I can't always bring it to the surface and put it into words. One of the reasons I enjoy writing is the challenge of capturing those thoughts to contain them and express them in words.

  5. #45
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    I usually think in packets of Wrigley's spearmint chewing gum. I find that it gives all my ideas a pleasent, refreshing and distinct flavour.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  6. #46
    Senior Member marm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    I usually think in packets of Wrigley's spearmint chewing gum. I find that it gives all my ideas a pleasent, refreshing and distinct flavour.
    So, you're saying that your ideas are full of flavor, but lack any real substance.

    :yim_rolling_on_the_

  7. #47
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    I think in "word oil". My thoughts run faster than words can be strung together, but still tend to be wordish. This is frustrating when trying to write lyrics, for example, as I'll come up with something clever that honestly fits the rhythm/meter when it's in my head, but when I try to get it out, it's like, WTF was I thinking..?

    Sometimes a long chain is impossible to solidify into words...there's some sort of Heisenberg thing going on, where if I reduce any part of it into actual words, the rest disintigrates.
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  8. #48
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by developer View Post
    Very intersting graph, Santtu ! For me, the very first part of a thought is usually an image, very similar to what you drew. Very often, it looks like a 3D - grid, and I see connections within. Also, sometimes it looks like the Coverflow funtion in iTunes. Then, when I work out the details, it changes into words.

    So, where do I put my vote now ? I guess, with "not in words"...
    Functions are cool Everything becomes apparent when I pictured them as graphs, with all the accompanying mathemathical notations. Engineering blueprints, charts, tables..

    sometimes when I explain things, I make the kind of movement with my hand that indicates the kind of graph of a function I'm talking about. Steady function, a spike, a curve that approaches a line asymptotically..
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #49
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    My thoughts tend to have a word/pictures ratio which is inversely correlated with their complexity. Simpler thoughts are almost completely composed by words. The most complex are almost completely composed by pictures and are not easily explainable except via mathematical formulae.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  10. #50
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Do you think mostly in words or something else

    Hard question that I cannot really answer. I never thought about how I think.

    It's not really words or pictures that I think with. It's something I would call thoughts. They are not excactly words and neither pictures but something in between. I do think with words sometimes too.

    Because I'm not sure, I'm not voting either.

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