Some people "hear" a spoken voice in their head when they read words, apparently called subvocalization.

What do you call it when you hear someone speaking and your brain turns it into actual words that you "see" before you in your mind's eye? This happens without any particular effort or intention.

  • Not the point of the question, but is either of these not normal / something an average person does? – AthomSfere Sep 19 '17 at 2:07
  • @AthomSfere, if this is actually a form of synesthesia, it's probably not common at all. – Joe Sep 19 '17 at 3:27
  • Following @barbecue’s link, I see synesthesia is described as visual effects integrated into your visual perception, really seeing it. You wrote “mind’s eye” which is not the same thing. I interpret your description to mean that the glyphs are called up in an internal space, separate from the picture you get from your eyes. Can you clarify? – JDługosz Sep 19 '17 at 6:49
  • @JDługosz, synesthesia can be either directly perceived or in the mind's eye depending on the particular person. – Joe Sep 19 '17 at 14:51

If this happens without conscious effort, then it may be a form of synesthesia usually called ticker tape synesthesia.

  • Reading the abstract to that document you linked to, I'd have to say that's it. – Joe Sep 18 '17 at 22:39
  • A quick search for ticker tape synesthesia will return lots of discussions on various forums of this phenomenon, reddit, etc, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of actual research. – barbecue Sep 18 '17 at 22:43
  • Hmm, so subvocalization is “normal” (common anyway; those are the people who mix up homonyms) in adults,so it doesn't need a term? But the other way around is a medical condition? – JDługosz Sep 19 '17 at 6:43

Seeing words as images is called Visualization.

  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U. It is not enough on Stack Exchange to state an answer; a good answer should explain the reasoning, including references and examples as may be appropriate. I strongly encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance. – choster Sep 19 '17 at 3:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.