Publication 7767

Hurlburt R. T. & Akhter S. A. (2008) Unsymbolized thinking. Consciousness and Cognition 17(4): 1364–1374. Fulltext at
Unsymbolized thinking – the experience of an explicit, differentiated thought that does not include the experience of words, images, or any other symbols – is a frequently occurring yet little known phenomenon. Unsymbolized thinking is a distinct phenomenon, not merely, for example, an incompletely formed inner speech or a vague image, and is one of the five most common features of inner experience (the other four: inner speech, inner seeing, feelings, and sensory awareness). Despite its high frequency, many people, includ- ing many professional students of consciousness, believe that such an experience is impos- sible. However, because the existence of unsymbolized thinking indicates that much experienced thinking takes place without any experience of words or other symbols, acknowledging the existence of unsymbolized thinking may have substantial theoretical import.

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