Do you hear voices in your head? When you’re reading, I mean. Of course I mean when you’re reading. I’m not trying to suggest anyone is crazy…
I mean, do you hear voices of narrators and characters speaking out loud in your head when you’re reading?
I’d never thought about this before. I’m struggling to remember what I actually hear when I read, but I think I enter the fictional world so completely that it’s hard for me to pin down individual sensations when I snap out of it. However, many people do hear voices. And accents.
This phenomenon was brought by to me by a lovely lady I was having lunch with this week. She insisted she heard books by Welsh authors read out in her head in a Welsh accent, and British authors in a British one. Until this point, I’d never considered this. I guess I always imagined everyone experienced books in exactly the same way as me.
But that would be a terribly ridiculous assumption, wouldn’t it? No one experiences the same book in exactly the same way. That’s part of the fun!
(I do find author’s accent sort of affect the overall tone of a work while I’m reading – C.S. Lewis, being British, has a different atmosphere in his books than others, but I feel that might be more due to word choices. Like when he described a hypothetical man as a lunatic – “on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg.” Why a poached egg, precisely?)
Just to prove this is not in the head of only one person in this world, I will point you to an article in The Guardian where readers describe all sorts of audible and visual experiences while reading, including – you guessed it, people who are not sure they hear anything at all. Very interesting read! There are all kinds of people in the world, after all.
Okay, now I am off to power-read three chapter of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which the informal book club I belong to has decided to read next.
Leave your experiences with disembodied voices in the comments! Do you hear voices when you read?
2 responses to “Do You Hear Voices In Your Head? (While Reading)”
There’s a fascinating free course on FutureLearn that talks about this – it’s coming up in December. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/how-to-read-a-mind-2
One of the best designed courses on FutureLearn and the main professor is very engaging and obviously loves his subject – Cognitive Poetics. All about how we read and model fictional characters. I think you’d enjoy it!
Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll check it out!
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