Internal dialogue: why, how and when we do it

Who of us may say to yourself at least once? About 70% of people do it regularly – both to myself and aloud.

Meanwhile, we know very little why, how and when to do it.

Today only a few psychologists are studying this subject, and only a couple of hundred scientific articles one way or another concerned.


By the way, a significant contribution to the understanding of this phenomenon has made Lev Vygotsky almost a century ago. He suggested that children are born social, and learn about the world, communicating with others. As soon as they acquire language, they use it for learning: conversations with parents, with other children and toys, and there is a stage when the child discovers that he can talk to and with ourselves. He does it in the same way as with others, out loud.

Children talk to themselves when playing:

What am I doing? – asks the child.

— I make house. I need a couch!

— How many sofas I have?


Interesting, but to talk aloud to a child prefers in the presence of others. Plant a bunch of three-four-year old in the room and they begin to chatter, but mainly with themselves.

Then, as they grow older, it is communication with yourself is hidden. In adulthood, this internal communication is either short and fragmented, telegraphic style, or is expanded, grammatically precise and unhurried.

Despite the fact that the conversation was inaudible, it's soOhthe dialogue, and as important as communication with other people. Should not therefore be afraid or ashamed of what you are saying to yourself, even out loud. Better to learn how to do it usefully.



Inner voice

Like any dialogue, it takes place between at least two parts or fragments that are called "I". If you speak with him, with an imaginary friend, or Zoroaster – that is all dialogue with ourselves.

Perhaps no one in the world actively engaged in this topic than Charles Fernao, Professor of psychology, University of Durham, UK. He recently published a book devoted to just this topic: "The voices within" (not yet translated into Russian).

Here are some facts from his book:

Inner speech is not bound by the physical restrictions of speech. So, it can be much faster – because it is not necessary to open your mouth to move your lips and exhale the air. One study found that some people can "speak with them" at a rate of several thousand words per minute.

Some hear only their thoughts, without sound, intonation and timbre, and some of everything, including the accent. Even deaf people talking to themselves with sign language.

Conversations with their Pets too, in fact talking to themselves, simply receiving such a form.

Some people meditate just in order to quell this inner voice to calm the brain. This is no easy task, and the majority did not cope with this task.

We speak to ourselves when preparing for an important conversation or exam, when preparing a phrase in a foreign language when trying to remember something important. To speak with me in the car, especially when performing maneuvers in difficult conditions, or reminding yourself of something is not only normal, but a very useful thing.

"Do not deviate from the topic, Donald! Calmness, only calmness". During the election debates, the current President of the United States trump often said this phrase out loud from the podium, and it caused laughter and applause from his supporters. It's a risky joke: everyone knows, but — on the brink. It is known, how we relate to people who talk to themselves out loud in public places. Donald trump tried to show that he has to make an extra effort to hold back.

Speaking with yourself, trump sought help and found it.

Andy Murray has said that before going on to win a historic match in the U.S. Open 2012, he forced himself to go to the locker room and there, in front of a mirror, read myself a motivational speech in the winning spirit. Tennis player I am sure that it helped him win.

And he's not alone. Many pictures of athletes shows that they're talking to themselves before a performance.

Many people say in supermarkets, not to forget, what to buy and to help to find the necessary goods. Verbal name can improve visual processing. Simply put, if you repeat "cheese, cheese", you'll find it faster. It also helps to stick to the list and not to succumb to temptations. Similarly, when we say: "Where are those damn keys?!", we really help yourself to find them.

When we speak aloud, we connect and auditory memory. It helps to use more memory, and is useful when we are preparing a complicated dish.

Seaview experiments, when people are asking something to repeat to himself, pocketing the internal dialogue, and give a task. For example, children are given to assemble the puzzle with towers, and repeat some numbers, and they handle worse. Tasks on the reaction rate, the adoption of the solution – they are made worse if to suppress the internal dialogue.

To explore the internal dialogue is extremely difficult, but come to the aid of modern methods, including MRI. But the most productive method was a descriptive sampling of what is happening (Descriptive Experience Sampling), when a person is given a beeper which produces a signal at a random time. When the sound is heard, it is necessary to record that kind of thoughts in his head and transmit them to the scientists.

This method has discovered an amazing thing: it seems to us that our internal conversation is often negative, but it turned out that in most cases such a conversation positive or neutral. Think about how little we know: we are unsure of something, and it turns out that this is not so.


You or I

How best to speak with them, since we still doing this? Is there a difference in how to speak with him from the first, second or third person?

When you have done something good and no one near, tell yourself: "I am good" or "I'm a genius, doubt", you immediately reward the most sincere on Earth as a compliment.

People were asked to solve puzzles and to cheer yourself or the second person ("you can"!) or from the first ("I can"!). It turned out that encouragement from the second person better, especially in the imperative mood.

The explanation is simple. Remember that as a child, during the formation of the style of your behavior, you constantly hear these two components: the "you" and imperative. These words your parents and other directed behavior. During the years of childhood could form a small suspicion that control over your behavior someone else does, not you.

In 2010, the famous basketball player LeBron James during the interview, uttered a strange phrase: "I didn't want to do is make an emotional decision. I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James, and so to make LeBron James happy." Then commentators on the network, wrote that he has crazy says. Yet in society, not really accepted to speak about himself in the third person.

But who can blame genius? "Ah Yes Pushkin, Ah Yes son of a bitch!"

Another explanation: when we call ourselves "you" or by name (which, by the way, doesn't matter), we distanciruemsa. This allows us to look at ourselves and act less impulsively.

In General, it is noted that those who use internal dialogue, you know your emotions better in yourself and deal successfully ourselves.

If you talk to yourself, do not hesitate, enjoy it and use it. Say to yourself, "Who's a good boy? I'm good!"published


Author: Boris Zubkov

P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©

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