People speak clearly and intelligibly at around 150 words per minute. At that pace, it takes less than 2 minutes to deliver the 266 words in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
That is at a snail’s pace compared to another form of speech that we all engage in: inner speech. Inner speech is the scientific term for ‘talking to yourself in your head,’ the voice of your conscious thinking. Psychologists have measured the rate at which humans produce this speech at 4,000 words per minute. Or nearly 27x the speed of speaking aloud. To put just how fast that is in context, the Gettysburg Address at the speed of inner speech will loop about 15 times in the span of a minute.
This really puts some new meaning to just how fast we’re thinking when we’re “thinking on our feet.”
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