Eli5 how we extract meaning from the language we read? Do we link words to pictures in our mind?

186 views

Eli5 how we extract meaning from the language we read? Do we link words to pictures in our mind?

In: Other

Some might – especially those with photographic memories. For others, it’s just hardwired.

I read the word tree, I don’t picture a specific tree. Your brain just knows in general what the meaning is. If you had to picture every word, it would be exhausting.

Especially for words that you know the meaning of, but could never possibly visualize. You can’t link something like the word “fear” to a picture.

Your brain stores knowledge more as abstract concepts. The word links to that concept, and the image links to that concept. See a cat and your brain identifies it as a cat then gives you the thought “that’s a cat”. See the word cat and your brain identifies the meaning of a cat and then gives you the image of a cat in your imagination. These concepts are stored without the use of either word or image, but are linked to the separate storages of the words and images, so those systems usually fire together. This is also how you can know what you want to say but not quite recall the word for it – your brain has accessed the abstract concept, but has misplaced the link between it and the word for it.