Hearing Voices in Your Head Is Normal, While Reading

A study finds that readers imagine speakers saying dialogue in their heads

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People who imagine voices may not be so crazy after all. While glossing over dialogue in books, readers will speak the voices--as they imagine the speaker--in their heads, a Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience study finds. The transcript of an Obama speech features his deep cadence in your head. Or Hermione sounds like Emma Watson. That sort of thing.

Using MRIs, researchers distinguished the parts of your brains that activate while reading different parts of books. When readers reach a bit of dialogue, they likely create "spontaneous imagery" of the reported speakers voice.

Earlier studies have acknowledge that internal speech is normal. In fact those who don't imagine voices in their head may have health issues. A University of Sheffield psychology professor has found links between a lack of internal voices and poor reading ability in those with dyslexia. "Everyone assumes everyone else is the same. However, we have found not everyone has an inner voice and in those who don't, literacy levels are often poor," he told the Daily Mail. Meaning hearing voices actually indicates that you're a good reader.

So go ahead, imagine voices speaking in your head all day long. Now nobody can call you crazy.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.