Individual differences in the propensity to verbalize: The Internal Representations Questionnaire

AbstractMany people report experiencing their thoughts in the form of natural language, i.e., they experience ‘inner speech’. At present, there exist few ways of quantifying this tendency, making it difficult to investigate whether the propensity to experience verbalize predicts objective cognitive function or whether it is merely epiphenomenal. We present a new instrument--The Internal Representation Questionnaire (IRQ)--for quantifying the subjective format of internal thoughts. The primary goal of the IRQ is to assess whether people vary in their stated use of visual and verbal strategies in their internal representations. Exploratory analyses revealed four factors: Propensity to form visual images, verbal images, a general mental manipulation factor, and an orthographic imagery factor. Here, we describe the properties of the IRQ and report an initial test of its predictive validity by relating it to a speeded picture/word verification task involving pictorial, written, and auditory verbal cues.

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