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Re: OT: What is your qualia of consciousness / thought? (WAS: does conlanging change your sense of reality?)

From:RoseRose <faithfulscribe@...>
Date:Friday, April 3, 2009, 20:19
On the verbal/non-verbal aspects of consciousness, this short lecture by
neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Tayor describes her experience of stroke and the
relation between the two modalities.


On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 3:23 PM, Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...> wrote:

> On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 12:59 PM, Sai Emrys <sai@...> wrote: > > > IME talking with people, there are several different kinds of > > perceptions of what it is *like* to think or just to be conscious. > > This is one of the things I have been planning to ask people > about in my follow-up conlang fluency survey (another dozen > or so questions to be sent to those who answered yes to > one or more of the fluency questions on my first survey). > It's been on my mind a lot lately since I started analyzing > the results of the first phase of the survey; some people, > in responses to questions about whether they sometimes > think spontaneously in their conlang, or dream in it, > said that they think, or dream, nonverbally. > > I've asked several friends about this recently. Mostly they > report that theyperceive their thoughts to be a mix, sometimes a verbal > monologue and sometimes visual or otherwise nonverbal. > > > > The most common one seems to be an 'inner verbal monologue'. That is, > > there is a sense of oneself as talking about stuff, and that talking > > *is* the consciousness. E.g. you'll think out a problem by talking it > > out in your head; have a running commentary about what others are > > saying or doing; what others might think of you; etc etc. > > This is what my thinking feels like most of the time -- probably > most often in Engllish, pretty often in Esperanto, sometimes > in toki pona or gjâ-zym-byn. A possibly unusual feature of > my inner monologue (or dialogue?) is that it sometimes has > actual dialogue tags, e.g. "he said", "he asked"... I think > that only happens when I'm thinking in English (in which I've > read far more narrative fiction than in other languages). > > > Less common and less easily described, there are: > > * other linguistic-monologue kinds of thought: > > - textual thought, which is essentially the same as an inner verbal > > monologue except that it's not-quite-visual text (somewhat like a > > 'typewriter' display effect) rather than psuedo-verbal speech (I've > > only met one person who has this) > > I occasionally get this, but usually as an "echo" of what I'm > verbally thinking, not by itself. I think it happens more often > with Esperanto and other languages where I spend more time > reading the language than conversing in it. > > > > * visualistic thought (which I don't really understand, but seems > nonlinguistic) > > Most of my thought that isn't verbal takes this form: e.g. my > plans about what I'm going to do or where I'm going to go > may take the form of visually imagining myself doing various > things, or of a kind of map of where I expect to be travelling, > with little verbal or textual echoes here and there that don't > really carry the main burden of thought. > > There is also musical thought, which seems to be useful > only for composing music, as far as I can tell. > > > > I'd like at some point to do research on the neural correlates of > > these different qualia, see if they could be messed with (eg cause > > someone to have a different type of conscious experience), and see if > > they correlate well with changes created by meditation*. I may > > I've tried doing some of this at times -- deflecting my thoughts > on certain subjects from their default verbal paths into more > textual or visual paths instead -- with very limited success. > > A few years ago I had a conversation with some friends about > how we count things silently to ourselves -- do we think verbally > with the names of numbers, or textually with arabic numerals, > or visually with arrays of dots or other mathematical objects > corresponding to the numbers...? Most of us counted verbally, > but IIRC the ones who counted textually, visualising arabic numerals, > counted faster. I tried for while after that to count with textual > numerals > instead of verbal, and could sometimes do so when > deliberately thinking about it, but it never became my default > mode (though I sometimes count spontanteously with numeral > words in Esperanto or gjâ-zym-byn rather than English). > > -- > Jim Henry > >