How do deaf people think?

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BobBobberson
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How do deaf people think?

Post by BobBobberson » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:21 pm

You know how when you think, it's mostly in your own voice. How would Shizune think if she doesn't know what she sounds like, let alone know how to speak? Does she just imagine text?

Kutagh

Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by Kutagh » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:38 pm

As a deaf person with hearing aids, I can tell you I'm not thinking in my own voice, just in a 'neutral' voice... Man, that would be annoying as hell if you're male and got a very high-pitched voice, both when talking and when thinking... :lol:
It's hard to describe, just as it is hard to describe to a blind person what color the vanilla ice cream has... ;)

I philosophized with a buddy of mine before about how people that don't know words think (humanity started out as that at some point). But keep in mind that when you're thinking, you're using the words to represent a concept (which can describe an object or an action). If a deaf&mute person doesn't think with a voice, I'm pretty sure they're not imagining text, I'd think they'd think in concepts or something like that.

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Mirrormn
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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by Mirrormn » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:02 pm

From what I understand, the "verbalization" that occurs in a "normal" person's brain is really just a side-effect of the process of thinking, and not really the act of thinking itself*. That is, when you think, the thinking always occurs in pure concepts, and then the portions of your brain that control speech tend to convert those concepts into words because they have nothing better to do. Thus, deaf people would accomplish their thinking in the exact same way as everyone else, but would never develop the speech-processing side-effect.

*Unfortunately, unlike usual, I do not have a link to corroborate this belief.
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kutagh

Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by kutagh » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:19 pm

Mirrormn wrote:From what I understand, the "verbalization" that occurs in a "normal" person's brain is really just a side-effect of the process of thinking, and not really the act of thinking itself*. That is, when you think, the thinking always occurs in pure concepts, and then the portions of your brain that control speech tend to convert those concepts into words because they have nothing better to do. Thus, deaf people would accomplish their thinking in the exact same way as everyone else, but would never develop the speech-processing side-effect.

*Unfortunately, unlike usual, I do not have a link to corroborate this belief.
I was actually discussing with Beoran on IRC about this and we're thinking the same, that you subconsciously think in concepts and the language is a 'translation layer' between your conscious and your subconscious. Keeping in mind that when thinking in words, you usually use the language you're the most familiar with, using words in foreign languages you don't know in your own language. But yeah, I don't know any experiments or proof either, which I think is hard to get anyway since thought is such an abstract concept... If that is solved then I'm pretty sure that we can create machines that can read the words we are thinking.

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metalangel
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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by metalangel » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:41 pm

Kutagh wrote:As a deaf person with hearing aids, I can tell you I'm not thinking in my own voice, just in a 'neutral' voice... Man, that would be annoying as hell if you're male and got a very high-pitched voice, both when talking and when thinking... :lol:
I apologize if this is too prying, but if you have HAs that suggests to me that you're late deafened or have progressive hearing loss. Have you used speech to communicate in the past? The reason I'm curious is I wonder if that's somehow influenced you to have the 'neutral' voice, while someone born profoundly deaf wouldn't have the same unconscious 'turning their thoughts into words' in the same way.

As a hearing person, I don't 'think' in my own voice, unless I make a point of doing so. I don't look around my living room right now and think: "chair. TV. backpack." and hear my own voice saying that - I just recognize what I've seen and process the information or concepts. Likewise I've read about people who read stuff and apply a 'voice' to the material, sometimes even to individual characters or speakers. Again, maybe I'm being strange, but I don't do this. I'm re-reading Dune and I don't find myself applying what I imagine the characters to sound like every time they speak, though if you were to ask me I could tell you what I think they would.

EDIT: You've posted again while I was typing that! It's occurred to me that something I have been trying to do from time to time is 'think' in ASL, to try and think how I would sign something I'm doing or about to say or whatever. Again, though, this is both a conscious effort and the fact I'm not a fluent user and so need to think before I communicate.

kutagh

Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by kutagh » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:00 pm

metalangel wrote:
Kutagh wrote:As a deaf person with hearing aids, I can tell you I'm not thinking in my own voice, just in a 'neutral' voice... Man, that would be annoying as hell if you're male and got a very high-pitched voice, both when talking and when thinking... :lol:
I apologize if this is too prying, but if you have HAs that suggests to me that you're late deafened or have progressive hearing loss. Have you used speech to communicate in the past? The reason I'm curious is I wonder if that's somehow influenced you to have the 'neutral' voice, while someone born profoundly deaf wouldn't have the same unconscious 'turning their thoughts into words' in the same way.

As a hearing person, I don't 'think' in my own voice, unless I make a point of doing so. I don't look around my living room right now and think: "chair. TV. backpack." and hear my own voice saying that - I just recognize what I've seen and process the information or concepts. Likewise I've read about people who read stuff and apply a 'voice' to the material, sometimes even to individual characters or speakers. Again, maybe I'm being strange, but I don't do this. I'm re-reading Dune and I don't find myself applying what I imagine the characters to sound like every time they speak, though if you were to ask me I could tell you what I think they would.

EDIT: You've posted again while I was typing that! It's occurred to me that something I have been trying to do from time to time is 'think' in ASL, to try and think how I would sign something I'm doing or about to say or whatever. Again, though, this is both a conscious effort and the fact I'm not a fluent user and so need to think before I communicate.
Not too prying, but (as I mentioned in Hanako's Broken Heart Club) I'm not late deafened nor do I have a progressive hearing loss, my hearing loss has been like this for as long as I can remember (at very least since I was a couple years old, before I learned to speak). FYI: Cochlear Implant skips the inner ear, stimulating the sinew-ending directly. All it requires is that the sinew hasn't deteriorated. I just have a minimal residual hearing. I have the hearing aid that almost nobody else uses since my residual hearing is so minimal... When there's an issue with my hearing aid, I'm not using a borrowed hearing aid because they don't have a spare one suitable for my hearing loss, only one that is barely strong enough (and annoys the hell outta me because of how low the volume is, trying to crank up the volume...).

And about the thinking... My guess was that the subject is consciously thinking. Thinking about what happened in the story or preparing in mind what you're going to say, not the subconsciously processing of information which is quite different altogether.

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Brogurt
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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by Brogurt » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:04 pm

Glasses. Why else would Shizune have them?

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metalangel
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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by metalangel » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:11 pm

kutagh wrote: Not too prying, but (as I mentioned in Hanako's Broken Heart Club) I'm not late deafened nor do I have a progressive hearing loss, my hearing loss has been like this for as long as I can remember (at very least since I was a couple years old, before I learned to speak). FYI: Cochlear Implant skips the inner ear, stimulating the sinew-ending directly. All it requires is that the sinew hasn't deteriorated. I just have a minimal residual hearing. I have the hearing aid that almost nobody else uses since my residual hearing is so minimal... When there's an issue with my hearing aid, I'm not using a borrowed hearing aid because they don't have a spare one suitable for my hearing loss, only one that is barely strong enough (and annoys the hell outta me because of how low the volume is, trying to crank up the volume...).

And about the thinking... My guess was that the subject is consciously thinking. Thinking about what happened in the story or preparing in mind what you're going to say, not the subconsciously processing of information which is quite different altogether.
Thanks for clarifying. So you have very strong HAs, not CIs? I take it your audiologist decided that any residual hearing is better than destroying it trying to put an implant in? Would you agree with my theory that since you've learned to speak you have that swirling around in your head causing your mind to 'orate' your thoughts? I do wonder if someone born profoundly deaf, when they were thinking about communicating something, would 'think it' in sign the way that hearing people might think it in a voice inside their head.

Ugh! The problem with trying to think about this is you end up inadvertently saying everything inside your head because you've got that thought planted too. :P

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Mirrormn
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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by Mirrormn » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:16 pm

Brogurt wrote:Glasses. Why else would Shizune have them?
This makes so little sense that I have somehow have to believe it.
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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by Guest » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:17 pm

Brogurt wrote:Glasses. Why else would Shizune have them?
Image

@Metalangel: I have one very strong HA and one CI. And I grew up in a completely hearing surrounding, learning to speak the 'normal' way (though with more training) so I can't really confirm nor disprove the theory... It is entirely possible that they consciously think in sign language or images (they're both visual, like the languages are auditive).

But yeah, this is a subject that is hard to discuss, just like it is hard to explain a seeing person how a blind person can navigate around the city. We lack the common middle ground and therefore the vocabulary and knowledge to discuss it...

Kutagh

Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by Kutagh » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:19 pm

GRRRRRR I did type my nick but phpBB didn't want to use it >.> Above post is mine as you probably guessed ;)

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metalangel
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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by metalangel » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:21 pm

Mirrormn wrote:
Brogurt wrote:Glasses. Why else would Shizune have them?
This makes so little sense that I have somehow have to believe it.
It's a 'joke' from the 'GIMMIE THE CHOCOLATE, HISAO!' strip.
Kutagh wrote:@Metalangel: I have one very strong HA and one CI. And I grew up in a completely hearing surrounding, learning to speak the 'normal' way (though with more training) so I can't really confirm nor disprove the theory... It is entirely possible that they consciously think in sign language or images (they're both visual, like the languages are auditive).

But yeah, this is a subject that is hard to discuss, just like it is hard to explain a seeing person how a blind person can navigate around the city. We lack the common middle ground and therefore the vocabulary and knowledge to discuss it...
Absolutely, I think both hearing and sight loss are things you can't truly understand unless you have them, and there's many well-meaning but ignorant people out there who just don't understand. Hence, my gratitude for you explaining it all: I'm trying to learn about deafness and Deaf culture and find that many are really weary of the ignorance and stupid questions they've been asked for years and years.

(and yes I had guessed... if you like it here why not register?)

Kutagh

Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by Kutagh » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:31 pm

Initially I only planned to tell my story in HBHC but then this discussion came up and I'm fond of a good discussion (hmmmm, does that make me a bit like Shizune? I'm not even close in her competitiveness but I like making good points... Just had an discussion with someone on Steam about a couple things, like why Windows Phone isn't a good move for Nokia). I dunno, if I keep visiting here regularly I might make an account.

And I rather have people asking me and trying to understand what I'm willing to tell than being ignorant and assume everything. I'm not 'some poor deaf guy' either, doing well for myself at the moment (in that regard I'm a bit the same as Hanako, I want to be treated as an equal as much as possible). But don't ask me about the Deaf culture, I have next to no ties with them.
The interpreters I've worked with for years? Sometimes they tell an anecdote where I really go *MASSIVE FACEPALM* about some of the questions/ignorance... The only unlimited thing humanity has is stupidity :lol:

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metalangel
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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by metalangel » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:48 pm

Kutagh wrote: And I rather have people asking me and trying to understand what I'm willing to tell than being ignorant and assume everything. I'm not 'some poor deaf guy' either, doing well for myself at the moment (in that regard I'm a bit the same as Hanako, I want to be treated as an equal as much as possible). But don't ask me about the Deaf culture, I have next to no ties with them.
The interpreters I've worked with for years? Sometimes they tell an anecdote where I really go *MASSIVE FACEPALM* about some of the questions/ignorance... The only unlimited thing humanity has is stupidity :lol:
I will do my best not to bounce every deaf-related question I have off you :o I will warn you, I am waiting acceptance on an ASL & Deaf Studies course and I'm hoping to do the interpreter course after that, which is why I've got all these questions percolating away.

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Re: How do deaf people think?

Post by nemz » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:54 pm

For the hearing among us, when you hear yourself thinking, do you hear it in your ACTUAL voice or in the way your voice sounds from inside your own head? For me it's the latter, which makes it a bit startling sometimes to hear myself on a recorded message, being confronted with how different a voice can sound when you don't get reverb from your own sinuses and such. The "mind's ear" is quite a bit more flexible than that though. I also think in other's people's voices occasionally when lost in a mental scene of some sort. Or after reading too much Shakespere I find myself thinking and speaking with odd phrasings for a little while unless I consciously stop it. I've had dreams that were in the form of prose, no actual sense information at all though sensations were described.

Then again, consciousness is overrated. Recent neruoscience experiments have shown support for what I've suspected for a long time now, that consciousness is just the brain's awareness of what it's already thought. Researchers have been able to detect a decision being made up to 8 seconds before the subject is aware they've done so, meaning that acting without thought is actually better described as acting without waiting for the self-monitoring system to keep up. When you make take your time to ponder a tricky situation the 'you' that thinks isn't actually doing anything but waiting to see what your brain comes up with. With how faulty our perception of time is anyway though (we only experience 'now' in discrete chunks, the mind filtering several disparate moments to a single simultaneous instant and in the process just discarding most of the sensory input we actually receive) it's sometimes hard to notice that we're merely the audience for our brain's choices... in a way we ALL live in our own VNs, experiencing the life resulting from the whims of some unknown decision-maker (that happens to also be us).
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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