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Do you think in pictures or in words? cognition
Old 10-04-2009, 03:59 AM   #1
Bankrobber
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So, this is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. When watching certain tv-shows where a person can hear antoher persons thoughts, I'm always surprised of how the thoughts actually are in words. So I started asking some of my friends if they think in pictures or in words, most of them said that thinking for them was sort of like have a dialouge with themselves in their head.

I almost always think in pictures, and I was quite surprised to find out that there actually are people who think in words. I almost never think in words, it only happens if I'm thinking about how to write an essay or something like that, or when I'm planning a conversation, then I imagine the conversation and hear the words as well.

I understand that having a combination of both them is quite common, because it really depends on in what you are thinking about I guess. I've asked this question on other internet forums as well, and they say when thinking about more trivial stuff their thought are always in words. But I don't think about trivial stuff (it just seems unneccesary, what's the point?), what is there to think about? If you see that there is no juice in the fridge you don't have to think "Oh, there's no juice", or at least I don't, so I can't understand how other people actually do that.

But I thought that it might be interesting to hear what INTJs has to say, because I was wondering if there was perhaps a way to see in what way "smart" people generally think.
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:26 AM   #2
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If you are looking for "smart", then you won't find it with me, but I can tell you how I think. I can't see images in my mindseye. I close my eyes and see dark red brown, but cannot picture images. I don't hear words in the sense that other people would hear words either. I hear order. I memorize things by order. I link color to numbers in my head to memorize whether something is a certain color, then eventually I will just call something yellow in my head.

This is why I like cognitive psychology, everyone's perception is different and this is exactly the way we have to teach children these days, as people have different thought perceptions in the way they learn. I wish more teachers today would take more cognitive psychology classes that apply to teaching, as this is how you pass students who have trouble learning in large classrooms.
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:38 AM   #3
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I'm just as surprised that there are people who think in pictures. Seems like a waking dream sort of situation to me. I only think in pictures if I'm going the photographic memory route; usually I "hear" a voice in my head speaking my thoughts. The way you'd imagine a character speaking when reading a book.
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Old 10-04-2009, 05:39 AM   #4
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I also entirely lack the ability to think in any pictures. I made a
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about this awhile ago and there are a few of us who can't visualize at all. There is lots of good content added there from those who can visualize as well.
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Old 10-04-2009, 05:47 AM   #5
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i find it weird that people find people who think in pictures weird.

i think in words sometimes... if i visualize the word. xD

i notice that when i'm alone and i'm thinking of something dialogue-related, a lot of times without even realizing it (until after i've started doing it) i'll mouth/whisper my thoughts aloud. like right now... i was thinking of how to explain this phenomenon, and while doing so i was quietly speaking them to myself at the same time... not in the way a crazy person would. the only voice i hear is my own. haha.
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:41 AM   #6
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Interesting. I have never contemplated this topic before. Now I think about it, I would have to say both. I will think in words, but can see pictures, and frequently I will lay out a problem in words, but will visualize the solution.

But I am one of those people who can look at a set of blueprints and see the finished result in 3D, and I get fractal art, so perhaps I am more visual than some.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:07 AM   #7
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I think in pictures.I haven't noticed this until i read your post.I don't know how to describe it though.

When i'm reading a book,i don't see words in my mind's eye.I feel what might the situation felt ,and as if i was in the audience and follow the events from where i seat.Is this explanation odd?

Oh i have dialogues in my head,constantly.But if i have to remember a person,a place,an object , i see them in my mind's eye.The image would be fade and reflects my idea about the person.I don't know how to describe.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:43 AM   #8
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I almost exclusively think in words. I'll think in pictures if prompted to by events: 'Imagine if..' etc; otherwise I actually imagine the words being spoken to me and recall information by remembering the words from whatever page.

Once I wrote the word 'filigrees' and mimed it to myself, and as I did so I imagined the words 'Phil agrees'. Go figure.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:49 AM   #9
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Neither. Mostly patterns. Like the abstract meanings behind words or something. Hard to describe.
Words also sometimes, but it's slower.
Hardly ever pictures.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:05 PM   #10
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Abstract patterns here too. Then I try to relate one pattern's behavior towards another.

Pictures when I have to figure out what's happening to something I don't understand, then I relate it to a pattern for shorthand.

Words are supershorthand, when I don't actually have to think deeply. But words are useful for arguing with myself about the means of problem solving.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:38 PM   #11
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The best way to discribe how I think is in three layers. The first is my thoughts in words of which there are two voices, my surface thoughts and the part of me analyzing what I'm thinking. The second is in pictures, which just plays out what I'm thinking normally in graph form but it can get more detail. The last is in oddly enough textures; I'm not quite sure how to explain it, but I think it associates underlaying emotions with various textures.

Yes, I've given this a lot of thought.
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:26 PM   #12
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I find I think in colour, which is one of the reasons I have such a difficult time expressing myself in words. You can't really tell someone, "Oh, I don't know about that theory--it seems too scarlet to me." When I meet people I always have 3-4 colours pop into my mind and that is how I remember them. I can think in pictures easily, abstract textures and colours best. Words? Sometimes. But I notice if I'm thinking in words I'm often speaking them aloud at the same time.

I would hazard a guess that the way you think might be linked to early childhood experiences? I was read to a LOT and was always imagining things. I spent a lot of time alone, in my own thoughts, studying the natural formations of the world around me. I'm also artistically inclined.
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:34 PM   #13
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I suppose it would be accurate to say I think in concepts and those are usually translated in words not visuals. I react to words moreso than visuals and made a
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about how words affect me last year.
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:50 PM   #14
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I just did the test about the learning styles, in the online tests section, and my result was both Visual/Non verbal and Visual Verbal, which is really true for me, cause I know the visual component is very strong in me.

Reading your OP I realized something more though; if Im not fully conscious of my train of thoughts I tend to think in words, if I feel relaxed and in peace I stop thinking in words and I just let images surface... as words were not necessary anymore but I was at some "beyond" level.

  Originally Posted by Synamon
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I suppose it would be accurate to say I think in concepts and those are usually translated in words not visuals. I react to words moreso than visuals and made a
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about how words affect me last year.

I have the feeling that you describe in your thread when I read something really well written. I stumble in some word, and it's just so perfect, right were it is, that it can make me shiver... I don't know if you meant exactly this, but sure, also words can give strong emotions.

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Old 10-04-2009, 03:20 PM   #15
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I tend to think in both. I think pictures is my primary mode but sometimes I think in words. I would say that atleast 95% of the time it's pictures. The words kick in when I can't make a picture.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:38 PM   #16
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I think in words. I can't really visualize images at all.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:45 PM   #17
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I think in ideas actually. I don't really see words or pictures in my head about things.

I can do words or pictures it if I wanted to, but it's just not my normal style.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:29 PM   #18
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  Originally Posted by brecia
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When i'm reading a book,i don't see words in my mind's eye.I feel what might the situation felt ,and as if i was in the audience and follow the events from where i seat.Is this explanation odd?

I get this too.
Otherwise I think a lot in sounds. If I hear someone reading something aloud or talking then I can remember the tone of their voice and replicate it in my head. I have a constant hum going on, or random bits of song...many pieces of music I can "listen to" in their entirety just in my head.
I'm not sure if I think more in words, images or concepts though..more a jumbled mess of them all together and much of it remembered by tone.

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Old 10-04-2009, 10:35 PM   #19
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  Originally Posted by Prunesquallor
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Neither. Mostly patterns. Like the abstract meanings behind words or something. Hard to describe.
Words also sometimes, but it's slower.
Hardly ever pictures.

I do, too. I think in concepts that are like neither images or words.

It is difficult to describe.

I link concepts together and their relationships form thoughts.

I can visualise with my mind's eye when called on to do so, but my visual memory is very poor, so I will often forget how someone's face looks, etc.

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Old 10-05-2009, 12:51 AM   #20
jonnyb
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Pictures most of the time followed up with words.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:55 AM   #21
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pictures, words, sounds, colors, physical space and movement
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:22 AM   #22
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Only occasionally words (conjuring conversations) or pictures (places, maps). Other stuff is just knowing. Concepts maybe? The feel of an idea? It doesn't have a physical sensory form as such.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:37 AM   #23
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I think largely in abstractions, that can resolve into either words or pictures. Sometimes there can be a spatial or directional aspect to the abstraction, so that I think of certain kinds of things as being in a particular quadrant for example.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:42 AM   #24
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I don't think in pictures unless I'm going photographic memory lane. I don't do words or sounds either.

I actually visualize the scene in 3 dimensions in my brain, mostly from details given and imagination.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:40 AM   #25
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Mostly words, but I feel mostly in pictures. If that makes sense.
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