Thinking in words, and noticing errors

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flicky1991
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Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby flicky1991 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:51 pm UTC

I wonder if there is a correlation between whether someone thinks in words or in pictures, and how likely they are to notice typos.

There was a discussion on Reddit about how some people always think in words, as if there's a constant narrator in their heads (I definitely get this), and how people who don't think this way find it hard to imagine. One of the people in the thread was saying they tended not to believe people who said they constantly heard their thoughts as a voice - and there was a typo in their post ("the" instead of "they") which definitely tripped my mental voice up. It made me wonder whether that poster's lack of mental voice had any connection to them not noticing their own typo.

Then again, I've heard of people being more extreme than me, and not having any mental picture at all, just thinking in words. Or sometimes, not usually picturing the scenario when reading a work of fiction, just taking in the words themselves.

Perhaps it might be useful if anyone posting here to discuss this also shares their answers to these questions:
When you have a thought, do you tend to think it in words and sentences?: Yes
When reading a story, do you automatically picture the locations and characters in your mind's eye?: Yes
Do you typically tend to notice errors in spelling, whether your own or other people's?: Yes
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Sizik
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Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby Sizik » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:57 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:When you have a thought, do you tend to think it in words and sentences?: Yes
When reading a story, do you automatically picture the locations and characters in your mind's eye?: Yes
Do you typically tend to notice errors in spelling, whether your own or other people's?: Yes
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Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby Zohar » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:22 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:When you have a thought, do you tend to think it in words and sentences?: Yes
When reading a story, do you automatically picture the locations and characters in your mind's eye?: Not really. Some glimpses from time to time, but it takes a conscious effort to imagine a picture. I do try to do that sometimes.
Do you typically tend to notice errors in spelling, whether your own or other people's?: Yes
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Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:42 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:When you have a thought, do you tend to think it in words and sentences?: When consciously planning, but I can't say 'always'.
When reading a story, do you automatically picture the locations and characters in your mind's eye?: Often.
Do you typically tend to notice errors in spelling, whether your own or other people's?: Others, mostly. My own mostly if I review outside 'my' editing box.

A whole lot of 'depends' in there. Errors1 I make in (as the most immediate example) composing a forum message tends to be a homophonic error that need not even be a correct spelling, or incorect punctuation that is 'locally good' but ruins the sentence. I will not spot this during review, having just written it and knowing what I should be reading, even with the Preview. Then I inevitably notice it after posting, during my habitual (if narcissistic) reading of the post I just posted.

I sometimes also get that wrong. I recently changed "effect" to "affect" once, or the other way round, in a re-edit because I convinced myself I had erred. I hadn't, until I went back in and 'corrected' it for spurious reasons.

1 That aren't keyboard errors. Hitting 'b' insyead of 'h' in "the". Or that 'y' that was a genuine miskey for the adjacent 't', just now, and left in as a better example. But now sometimes complicated by this Android on-screen keyboard sometimes substituting top-row characters (and probably the letters preceding in the same word) with a whole new 'suggested' word. But I tend to notice these things, even if it forces me to work out what the original unrelated word should have been.

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Lazar
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Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby Lazar » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:14 pm UTC

When you have a thought, do you tend to think it in words and sentences? Yes. My self-assessment is that my thinking is very verbal, and I talk to myself very frequently (as long as no one else is around).

When reading a story, do you automatically picture the locations and characters in your mind's eye?: Generally yes, I think, although I might forego it if I'm cruising through a dialog-heavy section.

Do you typically tend to notice errors in spelling, whether your own or other people's?: Yes, pretty acutely – but with the "edit box" exception that you note. I often make homophone errors (especially "to" for "too") when writing quickly, but I almost always catch them after I post.
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Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby Deva » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:58 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:When you have a thought, do you tend to think it in words and sentences?
When reading a story, do you automatically picture the locations and characters in your mind's eye?
Do you typically tend to notice errors in spelling, whether your own or other people's?

1. Yes.
2. Believes not.
3. Probably. Rarely knows of missed misspellings in others' writing.
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Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby Demki » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:20 am UTC

flicky1991 wrote:When you have a thought, do you tend to think it in words and sentences?

Most of the times, yes, especially when writing text. My thinking has actually shifted from being mostly in Hebrew(first language) to English, probably due to the time I spent on the internet and thus reading a lot of English text.
flicky1991 wrote:When reading a story, do you automatically picture the locations and characters in your mind's eye?

Not automatically. I have to actively picture it, and even then I find it lacking.
flicky1991 wrote:Do you typically tend to notice errors in spelling, whether your own or other people's?

I notice them most of the times, when reading text that I didn't compose myself just now. It usually doesn't hinder my reading too much. What really slows me down when reading is when people use mathematical terms in a mathematical context in a non-standard way, without specifying that ahead of time.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:21 am UTC

There is probably a distinction to be made here between "thinking in words," which is something most people do to some extent, and many if not most do almost constantly, and "reading in a voice," or subvocalization, in which one imagines the sound of written words while reading them. The latter can be compared to reading aloud, except you stop short of actually producing the sounds. However, you use all the cognitive processing necessary to formulate and imagine the sounds of the words, rather than just their meanings. Subvocalization is almost universal when reading new words that are long or complicated (sort of "sounding them out" in your head), but it is somewhat less common in fast, proficient readers encountering familiar words.

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flicky1991
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Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

Postby flicky1991 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:03 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:There is probably a distinction to be made here between "thinking in words," which is something most people do to some extent, and many if not most do almost constantly, and "reading in a voice," or subvocalization, in which one imagines the sound of written words while reading them. The latter can be compared to reading aloud, except you stop short of actually producing the sounds. However, you use all the cognitive processing necessary to formulate and imagine the sounds of the words, rather than just their meanings. Subvocalization is almost universal when reading new words that are long or complicated (sort of "sounding them out" in your head), but it is somewhat less common in fast, proficient readers encountering familiar words.

Hmm, I never thought of it like that. I definitely hear the sounds, both when thinking in words and when reading.
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