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Old 04-14-2011, 10:18 AM   #1
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Do you think in words or pictures?

I recently found out that most people think in words like a running dialogue in their heads. I was surprised to learn this because I've always thought in pictures. The only time I hear words in my head is if I'm thinking of something someone said to me or if I'm trying to plan out something I need to say to someone. But my normal moment-by-moment thought process is in pictures and colors and feelings. When people are talking, I'm seeing pictures of both the things they're talking about and pictures of a lot of the words they're saying (which is maybe why I'm a good speller). Sometimes I find that I associate a color with a certain word or phrase. But never do I actually talk to myself in my head. I asked a friend about it once, and he said when he thinks, it's literally like, he wakes up in the morning and is just saying to himself in his head what he's doing or plans on doing next. Like an ongoing narrative. That must be so weird.
When I read books, I do enjoy good writing. The words are important. I don't like to read bad dialoge or bad prose, but while I'm reading, I'm seeing pictures in my head. I visualize everything that's going on. So when someone asks me if I've read "Grapes of Wrath" , my mind just goes back to everything I pictured in my head as I read it. It was if it was a movie. I remember colors I saw, I remember the scenery and lighting I saw in my head, and I can remember what the people looked like. This is one reason why I usually don't like a movie that's based on a book if I've already read the book, because nothing looks the same as I pictured it in my head. So, to the people who think in words- when you read a book, do you vividly picture everything that's going on? Or after you finish reading, is it more like an objective fact that you've read the book and liked it rather than experiencing it all over again when you think about it?
I think this is maybe why I'm so artistic. I sometimes have trouble translating a picture I'm seeing in my head to a canvas, but I still love painting. And I really love photography. I was curious about this- whether artistic people tend to think in pictures more than in words, so I asked a friend of mine, who is very musically and artistically talented, and he said at the time I asked him, he was thinking in rhythms, when he's teaching, he thinks in words, and if he's angry or upset, he thinks in pictures to the point that he can't even speak because words don't make sense.
Anyway, I'm curious. How do all of you think?

 
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:26 PM   #2
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

Right brained people tend to be more visual and think in pictures. I am so left brained that I can't see pictures in my mind, unless I'm dreaming. I am a strong auditory learner. When I daydream, I usually am listening to dialogue in my head. No images. I wish I could access my right brain more easily, but when I try to picture something, I usually just think of the concept, rather than an image.
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

I am very left handed, except for throwing, kicking, darts, golf and pool (which I can switch, if I am playing badly), I am also a survivor of 4 strokes.

I defiantly think in pictures and often colors...I do love words, but more as a sign painter would, the construction of the letter, which was my trade until the strokes. I have always been an artist.

I have two left handed sons, apparently unusual.

I love this question.

 
Old 04-16-2011, 12:17 AM   #4
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

I am quite right brained. I am so visual that I can remember just about anything by taking notes. My dreams always have strong images, with definite meaning. I only wish I had the artistic skill to paint what I see. When I read words I see images unfold in my mind like a movie. And isn't that what words are...just descriptions of life, like numbers that reveal the amounts?

I enjoy reading because words tell a story. I suppose some are information gatherers, that don't really care much about the narrative, but rather care about the action of collecting information. Perhaps the data collectors are the left brained.

We are not born already knowing words, letters, numbers, language. So it seems that left brain thinking is acquired, and may even become an escape from some of life's painful inconsistencies. The right brain can 'see' both the horrifying and the beautiful. Anyone can practice accessing the right brain by allowing the brain to switch from the left to the right. Written words describe and have meaning that transcends alphabets. Letters are simply symbols like numbers. So we can ask ourselves, 'what do I see'.

And, neither pictures or words adequately reflect what a writer or artist means to convey. It seems to me that the meaning necessarily always comes from the receiver.

Strange. No wonder communication between two people can be so difficult, at times.

Last edited by jillian4; 04-16-2011 at 12:36 AM.

 
Old 04-16-2011, 05:27 AM   #5
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

I definitely think in words most of the time. The only time I think in pictures is ofI am trying to visualize something - room arrangement, table setting, etc. I am also a very linear learner - a must follow b with c next, etc...

 
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:53 PM   #6
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

I think I automatically do whatever the situation calls for. When reading a novel, half the enjoyment comes from picturing people, places and whatever action is going on. The same goes for listening to stories on the radio. If I sit and think about friends, I will see a picture of them. But the name is there too.

However, as I sit here answering this question on the computer, I must think in words. I have to put thoughts into words. So it seems that I have the ability to switch back and forth as the situation requires.

I'm ambidextrous. I throw a ball with my left hand but I write with my right hand. I was very interested in art and poetry (music, painting and writing) in my younger years but I went on to get a degree in business.

So, as far as how I think, I don't see any limitations. I do both. I think in words and pictures. Whether I'm good at it or not, that's another story. :-)

 
Old 05-28-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

well, it seems im so right braind. most of the time i talk in way that let the listener to imagine my words...it all because of my strong imagination,,,not exactly imagination but thinking in pictures

 
Old 06-05-2011, 04:48 PM   #8
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

Hello,

Interesting thread

I've never really thought about it until reading this about a week ago and set myself to the task of finding out how I think more, words or pictures.

I'd have to say I'm more pictures than words but I constantly have words and numbers running through my head- it isn't the same as when I'm thinking of something and concentrating or even daydreaming, it's hard to explain. Along with my thinking in pictures I also quite often have letters to represent what it is I'm thinking of and they are not just plain black and white alphabet letters, they are always fancy coloured swirley symbol style letters that kind of blend into the picture.

I have known for years that I am very much a visual learner so I'm sure this has a lot to do with my thinking in pictures and I am also good at math and love numbers and I am always reading something...

Others mentioned dreams...I also have very vivid sharp coloured dreams with a lot of detail...everything seems so real that I have had to confirm with others if things have happened or not...I don't like when those dreams happen and sometimes I get them more than once a week. On the plus side, I've 'seen' friends and family who are no longer with me and got to talk with them again

Ahh, brains and imaginations...

Cheers,

Heyloe

 
Old 06-07-2011, 03:49 PM   #9
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

Quote:
Originally Posted by heyloe View Post
Others mentioned dreams...I also have very vivid sharp coloured dreams with a lot of detail...everything seems so real that I have had to confirm with others if things have happened or not...I don't like when those dreams happen and sometimes I get them more than once a week. On the plus side, I've 'seen' friends and family who are no longer with me and got to talk with them again
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets vivid (sometimes troubling) dreams. And I have also tried to get confirmation from others. I once dreamed that my aunt had died. It seemed very real. The problem was: I didn't know which aunt it was. I had no knowledge of any of them being ill. So, feeling like a fool, I told my mother about it. I never told her about my dreams before, so it felt weird. All of my aunts were living hundreds and thousands of miles away.

I asked if she knew of any of them being ill and she said, "no". Three days later we received a letter from about 2000 miles away stating that my aunt (my father's brother's wife) Dorthy had died. My mother looked at me and asked: "How did you know?" All I could say was: "I don't know." That was the first time I became aware that such dreams are possible. But it doesn't happen very often with me. On average these dreams happen several years appart and usually involve the death of someone.

I don't know why it happens to me because I have never believed in such things as extrasensory perception.


Last edited by JohnR41; 06-07-2011 at 03:52 PM. Reason: delete words

 
Old 07-26-2011, 09:22 AM   #10
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

I think in words, mostly. I have a running narrative in my head all day, but I am apt to daydream. When I read, I visualize the story, the people, what's happening. When I remember the book, I remember the pictures it evoked for me. Actually, there are certain abstract concepts that i think of in pictures, such as the days of the week and months of the year. Each has a color. Numbers and letters have colors too. It sounds like the original poster has a bit of synesthesia (sp), as s/he was saying s/he see words as images. A lot of people have this ability to some degree. The idea of thinking in pictures in facinating to me. I can't really imagine it, as I talk to myself all the time. Pictures might be nice for a change, as sometimes I wish I'd just shut up :-)

 
Old 07-28-2011, 11:59 PM   #11
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Do you think in words or pictures ?

Being a painter i will say that in picture because a good picture can describe the whole scenario with idea.But it also depends on the painter that how does he describe and how does a observer think it too.But the pic is best than words.

 
Old 08-06-2011, 08:31 PM   #12
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

I think in 3D living breathing HD color and I dream that way 2.

 
Old 08-08-2011, 09:16 AM   #13
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

I think in a complete mix-up.....

I kind of multi task, so I have several channels running in my head at once, so if I am dealing with 3 or 4 issues at once, they are all being thought about at the same time.... I kind of 'jump channels' to drop into whichever channel I needs, or if I make no choice, I kind of drift between channels.....


When I am in a particular channel, I think in pictures, but give a verbal running commentary in words.... Problem is, if I do not concentrate, I speak the words leading to strange looks in the street. Imagine seeing some chap walking down the street with a vacant look in his eyes mumbling about some engineering problem and measurements, or talking through an electronics problem with himself? Anyhow, to answer the question, I think in pictures, but with a sound track in words running alongside

Odd thing, is even when I do not think about a particular subject for a while, then drop into the channel, I regularly find that significant progress has been made subconsciously.... Now if I could just get my subconscious self to get out of bed and down to the factory each morning

 
Old 08-17-2011, 12:17 PM   #14
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NDSFska View Post
I recently found out that most people think in words like a running dialogue in their heads. I was surprised to learn this because I've always thought in pictures. The only time I hear words in my head is if I'm thinking of something someone said to me or if I'm trying to plan out something I need to say to someone. But my normal moment-by-moment thought process is in pictures and colors and feelings.

Anyway, I'm curious. How do all of you think?
i've shortened your quote, and i'm late to this topic, but yes.. and a friend of mine told me i was strange one day because i assign colors to certain things or feelings.. it started with some drink and i told him it was bad because it's a red drink.. anyway!

i'm going to read the rest of this thread, but i'm happy to find someone else who thinks like i do! awesome!

 
Old 09-01-2011, 03:06 AM   #15
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Re: Do you think in words or pictures?

I dont know which of my brains function well. I sometimes think of a words and sometimes think of an image.

Last edited by alizawine; 09-01-2011 at 03:07 AM.

 
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