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When I think, I generally think in words (in English primarily, though sometimes in Russian). Essentially, I speak to myself in my mind, and ask questions and formulate plans. However, sometimes I think without words; I am still thinking with my conscious and not doing something out of instinct.

Example: I am being given a choice between two apples. I will usually think to myself, "I think I have tasted this apple recently and it was horrible," and choose the other one. Or, I might take a moment to decide which one tastes better, but without talking to myself.

I am fairly confident that I have been told from some people that they never think in words. Is this possible?

What other ways are there to think? Do some people think in images? (With the apple example, they would maybe visualize a couple images of them biting into the apple, of a similar apple they have seen, etc.

Or, perhaps, do some people think in scents? I do not imagine how this would work, because when I attempt to recall a scent or taste, I cannot recall it exactly; rather I think about whether it is good or bad, about when I enjoy it and with what, etc.

How would all this work on the neurological level? I am no professional in this area, but a suggestion is that thought in words happens in the section of the brain responsible for speech, and thought without words happens in the subconscious.

Sidenote: When I do math, I also think the names of the numbers or signs in my head, unless it is one I just invented. I know some people do not. This slows me down a lot in math, but also allows me to understand more.

Sidenote #2 (Edit): This question is asking about all the ways to think (this is the difference between it and the linked questions), and is looking primarily at personal experience-based answers.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have reviewed the questions this may be a duplicate of. They are slightly different. This is asking about all the ways to think, and is looking for personal experience. $\endgroup$ – bob Mar 29 '18 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @bob this site is explicitly against personal-experience based answers and broad questions, so even if this isn't a duplicate, I'm not sure this is a valid question $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Apr 2 '18 at 6:10