3
$\begingroup$

People with high verbal thinking process almost all their thoughts in literal words.

People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates.

Theory of multiple intelligences - Wikipedia

People with aphantasia recall almost all their experiences in literal words or generic concepts.

Aphantasia is the inability to voluntarily create mental images in one's mind.

The phenomenon was first described by Francis Galton in 1880 in a statistical study about mental imagery. Galton found it was a common phenomenon among his peers. He wrote:

To my astonishment, I found that the great majority of the men of science to whom I first applied, protested that mental imagery was unknown to them, and they looked on me as fanciful and fantastic in supposing that the words 'mental imagery' really expressed what I believed everybody supposed them to mean. They had no more notion of its true nature than a colour-blind man who has not discerned his defect has of the nature of colour.

Aphantasia - Wikipedia

Blake Ross, co-creator of Mozilla/Firefox, provides an excellent personal account of the condition:


If you tell me to imagine a beach, I ruminate on the “concept” of a beach. I know there’s sand. I know there’s water. I know there’s a sun, maybe a lifeguard. I know facts about beaches. I know a beach when I see it, and I can do verbal gymnastics with the word itself.

But I cannot flash to beaches I’ve visited. I have no visual, audio, emotional or otherwise sensory experience. I have no capacity to create any kind of mental image of a beach, whether I close my eyes or open them, whether I’m reading the word in a book or concentrating on the idea for hours at a time—or whether I’m standing on the beach itself.

And I grew up in Miami.

I would expect a high correlation between these two conditions, but I haven't been able to find anything significant that deals with both of them.

Have there been any studies along this line?

$\endgroup$
4
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for including these sources. It shows what I also couldn't find during a cursory search and one of the reasons I asked for sources: where in these sources are your "almost all thoughts" and "almost all their experiences" claims stated? From reading the same text, I don't make that conclusion. I suggest you rephrase those claims as hypotheses and make explicit you derive them rom those sources. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Oct 5, 2021 at 8:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris, Blake Ross describes it perfectly: If you tell me to imagine a beach, I ruminate on the “concept” of a beach. I know there’s sand. I know there’s water. I know there’s a sun, maybe a lifeguard. I know facts about beaches. I know a beach when I see it, and I can do verbal gymnastics with the word itself. ¶ But I cannot flash to beaches I’ve visited. I have no visual, audio, emotional or otherwise sensory experience. I have no capacity to create any kind of mental image of a beach, …. $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2021 at 13:27
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I get that what you describe is aphantasia, but that doesn't address my concern. For the aphantasia claim you could write "Aphantasia is the inability to voluntarily create mental images in one's mind [source]. By exemption, I suspect this means they recall most of their experiences in literal words, as I know of no other ways of doing so." Notice how this makes your assumptions explicit. For your "high verbal thinking" claim I struggle to follow your thought pattern how you conclude that "[p]eople with high verbal thinking process almost all their thoughts in literal words." $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Oct 5, 2021 at 13:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I’d suggest searching YouTube for Aphantasia Network videos. There are a number of researchers who have posted talks on the subject. The Aphantasia Network presents research and speakers on various related topics (there is a membership fee). $\endgroup$
    – LJ1
    Apr 19, 2023 at 17:03

0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.