LEIGH FORBES: Books of all Sorts

The Voices Within: the history and science of how we talk to ourselves


by Charles Fernyhough.

A compelling and fascinating look at the inner workings of our minds and the many conversations that go on there: from such everyday experiences as the inner voice, silent reading, and the writer’s muse, through to voice-hearing and other sensory hallucinations, Charles Fernyhough considers both the history and the extensive (albeit hit-and-miss) modern-day research studying the very foundations of thought and inner communication.

How do you think? Do you talk to yourself in your head? In the first person, second person, third person? What’s the difference between an childhood imaginary friend, and an adult auditory hallucination, and how might the experience of one affect the likelihood of the other? Why can’t writers control what their characters do? How does the inner voice vary depending on what language you speak? Do you hear an inner voice if you’ve never actually heard a voice?

This book covered such a wealth of subjects, very few of which I had ever considered before, despite many of them happening in my head every day. I will never think the same way again!


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