- Literature especially 'stream of consciousness' fiction (Fernyhough himself writes fiction):
- In Chaucer's Book of the Duchess the 'Man in Black' "spak noght/ But argued with his owne thoght," (p 93)
- The difference between the commandments of the gods in the Iliad and the dilemmas of Ulysses in the Odyssey
- Sports stars commanding themselves out loud to eg focus on the ball
- The private speech of children playing
- Silent reading (first observed being done by St Anselm by the not-at-the-time-Saint Augustine)
- Guardian angels
The four voices many of us hear are: (all p 44)
- "Faithful friend (associated with personal strength, close relationships and positive feelings)"
- "Ambivalent Parent (combining strength, love and caring criticism)"
- "Proud Rival (who was distant and success-oriented)"
- "Helpless Child, distinguished by negative emotions and social distance"
Many many fascinating moments:
- We are so committed to the privacy of our inner thoughts that "its alternatives - mind-reading, telepathy and thought invasion - can be sources of humour or horror." (p 4)
- "having a brain gives you: a ringside seat for a show meant for you alone." (p 4)
- "Thoughts are typically coherent: they fit into chains of ideas which, in no matter how haphazard a fashion, are connected to what has come before." (p 7)
- "Some of the mysteries of inner speech become more comprehensible when we rcognise that it has the properties of a dialogue." (p 15)
- "establishing a shared language ... rather than squeezing people's varied experiences into pre-existing categories" (p 29)
- "Dialogic thinking seems to be a useful tool for creativity" (p 107)
- "Self-talk gives us a perspective on ourselves that might be a key ingredient for thinking in a flexible, open-ended manner." (p 113)
- "Very strong evidence for a link between hearing voices and early adversity, particularly childhood sexual abuse. ... A does-response relationship was also observed ... good evidence that an effect is causal" (p 206)
- "People who live through horrific events often describe themselves dissociating during the trauma. Splitting itself into separate parts is one of the most powerful of the mind's defence mechanisms. ... Bentall's analysis is consistent with (although doesn't prove) the idea that trauma ... causes dissociation ... which then causes hallucinations." (p 208)
- "Voices, then, might give us important clues about the fragmentary constitution of an ordinary human self." (p 209)
- "Doing that internal speaking silently will also have clear evolutionary benefits. Talking to ourselves won't be much good if it betrays out position to a predator ... One reason why private speech 'goes underground' in middle childhood is probably that talking to yourself out loud is rarely sanctioned in Western schools. " (p 250)
- "I myself am most likely to experience a full-blown inner conversation when I am grappling with a dilemma. There is almost no research on this topic." (p 252)
This is a great introduction to a fascinating topic. August 2017; 259 pages