An interesting question.

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by PixlCrushr, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. PixlCrushr
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    I was just thinking, in my head, my thoughts are in English... What does someone who is deaf think in?

    -Pixl
     
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  2. JoostinOnline

    JoostinOnline Certified Crash Test Dummy

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    I've wondered that myself. All my thoughts (excluding pure emotions of course) are in English.
     
  3. AlanJohn

    AlanJohn くたばれ

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    That must be the most intelligent and inspiring question I have ever read in my entire life.

    I think that people who weren't deaf from birth probably still think in their native language.
    But the people who are deaf from birth probably never felt something like this and think without words, which I think is really hard to imagine.
     
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  4. prowler

    prowler Sony

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    They would think in whatever language they learned.
    They can read so they know words and how to say (well think) them to a degree.

    You see these videos of deaf people being able to hear again, one recently I watched was a woman and she could talk normally.
     
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  5. smash_brew

    smash_brew I may or may not have fallen

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    thats a good question. i often ask my bilingual friends what language they think in. the next question now is what would they dream in. i have a friend that thinks mostly in english but dreams mostly in spanish, but a deaf person would probably dream and think the same. at least i think they would. Maybe they see sign language in their minds. i'm going to have to make friends with a deaf person today.
     
  6. Hells Malice

    Hells Malice Are you a bully?

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    Damn.
    Was just gonna post this.
     
  7. PixlCrushr
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    PixlCrushr Member

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    The thing is though, they have no idea of what the word would sound like, they would have to literally 'see' the word in their head, which would be a really weird way of thinking to me.

    It's the same kind of thing if you imagine trying to describe the colour green to a man who has been blind his whole life.
     
  8. bowser

    bowser Mwa ha ha ha!

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    Wow. Thinking about this is a real mind-fuck :P
     
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  9. Densetsu

    Densetsu Pubic Ninja

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    Wouldn't YOU like to know?
    You actually think in pictures, not words. The mind is highly visual.

    When you're awake and recalling a dream, you're subconsciously encoding pictures into words that your conscious mind can understand. Even when you speak to someone in your dream, you're only seeing a picture (or video, if you will) of yourself speaking to someone. Your mind fills in the concepts and ideas of the content of the conversation, but you don't actually "hear" the words, per se.

    One of my Japanese friends can't speak English, so when I speak to him, we converse in Japanese. I have another friend who's American and can understand some Japanese, but can't speak it very well. So when we all get together, our conversations are a mix between Japanese and English. One time we were planning a road trip. Later on that evening after my Japanese friend had gone home, the American friend said "oh before I forget, we should stop by Hakone and check out the hot springs sometime during the trip." And I said "Don't you remember us having a whole conversation about that? We're already planning to go there!" He insisted that I never mentioned it, but I swore that I had talked about it and our Japanese friend was also excited about going to Hakone. Then he said "Oh, then maybe you were talking about it in Japanese and I didn't understand." When he said that, I thought about it, and I realized that I couldn't remember if I had that conversation in Japanese or English. I distinctly remembered having the conversation, but I just couldn't recall hearing the words in either language in particular. It actually happens quite often, and I'm sure that others who are bilingual or multilingual have the same experience.

    If dreaming required language, it would preclude dreaming in other mammals. But other mammals dream as well. My dog dreams all the time. He twitches, whines and barks in his sleep. What language do you think animals dream in? The answer is, they don't dream in any language. And neither do we.

    I actually first learned this back when I took intro to psychology in university.
     
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  10. PixlCrushr
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  11. Densetsu

    Densetsu Pubic Ninja

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    So did dreaming and thinking not exist in humans before language was invented?




    *EDIT*
    To counter my own argument, there are people who are born blind, but clearly they can still think. I wish I'd thought of asking that while sitting in my psychology class. I'll have to ponder this some more.
     
  12. JoostinOnline

    JoostinOnline Certified Crash Test Dummy

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    Language wasn't "invented", lol.
     
  13. Vulpes Abnocto

    Vulpes Abnocto Drinks, Knows Things

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    Language might not have been "invented" per se, but it "developed", and that's all Densetsu was saying.

    Is it odd that I occasionally dream in text?
     
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  14. Densetsu

    Densetsu Pubic Ninja

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    I meant "before the advent of language," but that's besides the point.

    *EDIT*
    Whoa, :ninja: 'd by VP!
     
  15. Vulpes Abnocto

    Vulpes Abnocto Drinks, Knows Things

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    I've been learning from the best. ^_^
     
  16. haflore

    haflore aeternaliter fluxa

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    I've seen this question in at least a few places...
    I think people who are born deaf think using mostly images and concepts, and maybe a few (written )words.
     
  17. Rayder

    Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

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    I have a deaf cousin and asked her that question, she said she thinks in English, since that is the language she learned to read and write.

    Did you know that deaf people CAN experience music? If they touch or sit on a speaker, they can "feel/hear" the sound. Usually though, they have to have the music so loud that it annoys other people who can hear so they can feel the vibrations.
     
  18. JoostinOnline

    JoostinOnline Certified Crash Test Dummy

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    This reminds me of a similar question a friend asked me. How do you explain color to a blind person?
     
  19. Densetsu

    Densetsu Pubic Ninja

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    Wouldn't YOU like to know?
    I also did a little more digging on the link you posted to find out who this Cecil Adams is, and this is what I found. Basically it says we should believe everything he says because he says so. According to that page, it says something to the effect of "Cecil Adams is the smartest man in the world because he just is" and that "he is never wrong." To me it seemed like the writer of that page explaining Cecil Adams was simply being facetious.

    Think about your own typical day (really, close your eyes and do it). You wake up, get out of bed, brush your teeth, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and head out the door to start your day. When you think about the things you do, are you seeing a paragraph of words describing those tasks in your mind? Are you reading a "mental paragraph" the same way you would read this paragraph on your monitor? Nope, you're thinking about it as if it were a movie.

    You can post as many links as you can find supporting the idea that you think in words, but I'm willing to bet I'd be able to find equally as many links arguing the case for pictures, and probably even other sources arguing that we think in a combination of both. So which theory is correct, then? Well, I'm not claiming to be any more credible than Cecil Adams or any other random website, but I have personal anecdotal experiences to back up my own thoughts on the matter. I also draw my own conclusions from actual scientific research journals and basic knowledge of neuroscience (I'm a medical student).

    *EDIT*
    Cecil Adams says that deaf people think in Sign. American Sign Language is heavily based on images. Take, for instance, the sign for "Jew." As racist as it might be considered, it's a depiction of a traditional Ashkenazi Jew with a long beard.

    I didn't know TrolleyDave took up a new disciple :O
     
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  20. yuyuyup
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    Oct 29, 2011
  21. Sora de Eclaune

    Sora de Eclaune Baby squirrel, you's a sexy motherfucker.

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    Is it odd that I occasionally think in images?