Talking to Yourself May Actually Be A Good Idea

Talking out loud may not be as bananas as previously thought.

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Guillermo Granja / Reuters

Verbally saying the word "banana" may help you find it quicker, if that is what you are in fact looking for, new research suggests.

Let’s all stop judging people who talk to themselves. New research says that those who can’t seem to keep their inner monologues in — raving bus station denizens, for the most part, excluded — are actually more likely to stay on task, remain focused better and show improved perception capabilities. Not bad, really, for some extra jabbering.

According to a series of experiments written up in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology by professors Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swignley, the act of using verbal clues to trigger mental pictures helps people function quicker.

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In one experiment, they showed 20 volunteers pictures of various objects and asked them to find just one of those, a banana. Half were instructed to repeat out loud what they were looking for and the other half kept their lips sealed. Those who talked to themselves found the banana slightly faster than those who didn’t, the researchers claim. In other experiments, Lupyan and Swignley found that uttering the name of a common product when on the hunt for it helped quicken someone’s pace, but talking about uncommon items showed no advantage and slowed you down. (The utility of talking may depend on how familiar your brain is with the item in question; the researchers speculate there are fewer internal visual reminders of alfalfa sprouts, say, than there are of bananas stored up in your brain.)

Common research has long held that talking themselves through a task helps children learn, although doing so when you’ve apparently matured isn’t a great sign of brilliance. The two professors hope to dispel that idea, claiming that just as when kids walk themselves through a process, adults can benefit from using language not just to communicate, but also to help “augment thinking,” as Lupyan told LiveScience.

Of course, NewsFeed encourages you to keep the talking at library tones and please, whatever you do, keep the information you share simple, like, say, a grocery list. At any volume, there’s still such a thing as TMI.

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2 comments
yytgpt
yytgpt

Hi , this is really true, when we start speaking positive about ourselves, things change, world looks beautiful. I was suffering from inferiority complex, but I knew that to live in a competitive world, I have to help myself, and have to believe in my capabilities. Now, I rise up early in the morning, go for one hour's walk, and speak all positive about myself, that I can. And I can realize the things changing. I am becoming self confident, I have stopped wasting time, I think less, I am becoming self confident. Now I have started mixing with people and speaking up without hesitation. We are what we think of ourselves. So change your thinking about yourself, and everyone will believe that.

Shamy1
Shamy1

@yytgpt 

Hi,

This sounds really interesting, as I often find that I have to do a lot of work with myself before I talk to people.  I have lived a troubled life and in the past 4 years I have been through trauma, and I tend to analyse things more now than ever. I do find that spend a lot of time thinking about things over and over again, and because of the depression that I have had, I a thought can easily distract me in the midst of day to day things.