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Research answers if everyone has one or multiple 'inner reading voices' in their head

A psychology professor at New York University carried out two researches on the 'inner reading voice' and found out some interesting facts.

Research answers if everyone has one or multiple 'inner reading voices' in their head
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lisa Fotios

Many of us hear a voice inside our heads when we read something. Have you ever wondered who it belongs to or why are we hearing it? Recent research has found that most people have an "inner reading voice" (IRV) and the more interesting part is that it can be different for different people. A psychology professor at New York University, Ruvanee P Vilhauer, conducted two research on this subject, according to IFL Science. Vilhauer started her research by going through internet posts and reading people's experiences.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

She went through about 136 posts and concluded that 82.5% of people do hear an inner voice when they read something. Moreover, these inner voices "have the auditory qualities of overt speech, such as recognizable identity, gender, pitch, loudness and emotional tone.” She also realized that about 50% of the people heard only one voice whereas others had multiple voices going on in their heads. For example, if reading a book, different characters might be speaking in separate imagined voices. In the other study, the Psychology professor gave questionnaires to 570 volunteers to understand the subject better. About four-fifths of the people said that they heard IRVs when reading while 20% percent said they didn't hear any voices while reading. 

Of the ones who did hear the inner voice, 34.2 percent of people heard it every time they read something whereas 45% heard the voice "often." However, about 19 percent of people claimed that they could choose to use the inner voice or keep it shut. That's not all. Three-quarters of respondents shared that they could control aspects of the inner voice. 35.6 percent of people said they could choose when they wanted to hear IRV and 36.5 percent shared that they could alter the volume. In a separate research by Psychology professors at the University of Nottingham, they found out that the inner voice also has the same accent as the person who is reading.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lisa Fotios
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lisa Fotios

However, one would also be amused to know that not everyone has internal monologues. A Twitter user, KylePlantEmoji shared this in a tweet that reads, "Some people have an internal narrative and some don't. As in, some people's thoughts are like sentences they 'hear', and some people just have abstract non-verbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them and most people aren't aware of the other type of person."

People on X were interested in this line of conversation. @KathrynFoxfield commented, "So not everyone has a voice inside their head that never, ever shuts up? My internal narrative and I find this almost impossible to comprehend." @howd9rk said, "Wait so some people don't have to suffer through the voice in their head going on a constant monologue?? Is that what it means to achieve inner peace?? The voice in my head is ADHD and on crack and it's ruining my life." @pleasepeehere expressed, " "I've always been jealous of people who can hear their thoughts. Verbalizing abstract thoughts is so hard and makes me feel dumb. It's a skill you have to learn."


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