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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Peter Elbow

Second Advisor

Anne Herrington

Third Advisor

Chuck Clifton

Subject Categories

Cognition and Perception | Cognitive Psychology | Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics | Rhetoric and Composition


The term audible voice refers to the sound of the text experienced by the reader during silent reading. It was coined by Elbow in his Landmark Essays to help the field of composition wrestle more productively with the concept of voice in writing. In this dissertation, voice is not a metaphor. Drawing on contemporary work in psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and consciousness studies, it examines the phenomenon of audible voice as a form of inner speech[1]. The premise of this study is that the experience of audible voice by the reader is a unique intersection of the individual's inner landscape and the features of the text at a particular moment in time. Therefore, the phenomenology of audible voice is best explored in context, the context of a single individual responding to a specific text. This dissertation presents the results of a mixed-methods study designed to explore the following questions in context: (1) What do readers hear or experience when they read silently? (2) What do writers hear or experience when they write? For scholars studying inner speech and the experience of voice, the value of this study lies in its detailed description of the phenomenology of inner speech during reading and writing in context. For composition-rhetoric scholars, this study is intended as a stepping-stone along a path towards an understanding of style and voice in writing that is centered in the inner experience of individual readers and writers. This lens is critical given the diversity of inner landscapes described in this work, a glimpse into the potential for an invisible diversity that may be present in our classrooms. [1] Also known as "inner voice" and "inner speaking."


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All appendices except D.

Appendix D.pdf (4526 kB)
A .pdf portfolio with the IP Quiz problems.