AUG 22, 2017 04:08 PM PDT

Is talking to yourself normal?


Don't deny that every once and a while you give yourself a little pep talk, be it in the mirror or right before stepping into that important meeting. Sometimes that pep talk takes place inside your head, but other times you find yourself actually talking out loud...to no one but yourself. But because we are capable of hearing our own voices in our heads and are able to have an internal dialogue with ourselves through what's called "inner speech," why do we sometimes talk aloud to ourselves?

Although talking to yourself has historically had a stigma of mental illness, in most cases, it is quite normal. A Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky proposed that we talk to ourselves (psychologists call this private speech) because when we first learned to talk our thoughts and speech aren't really connected. He hypothesized that at around age three we start talking to ourselves in order to connect our inner thoughts to our outer speech because it's at that age that inner speech emerges and our thoughts become more like verbal sentences. And although that habit of practicing our words out loud curbs shortly after, anyone who's ever learned a second language knows that verbalizing your thoughts is a critical step in mastering a language.

Using speech to direct your actions is another way that talking to yourself can be helpful. I know I'm not the only one who has ever dozed off while reading a textbook, and sometimes reading to yourself out loud can help focus your concentration. But sometimes talking to yourself, depending on what you're saying, can actually be more of a distraction than a help. Have you ever been caught up in a text conversation and person-to-person conversation at the same time and found yourself texting what you meant to say aloud? Happens to the best of us. Want to understand more about why we talk to ourselves? Watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 20, 2018
Videos
NOV 20, 2018
A Major Grant Aims to Improve our Understanding of Age-related Cognitive Decline
The American Heart Association has teamed up with the Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment to award the Salk Institute $19.2 million....
NOV 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 24, 2018
These Are Some of the Most Extreme Dads in the Animal Kingdom
Being a dad isn’t always smooth sailing, but compared to a plethora of different species in the animal kingdom, human dads have it easy. The hardhead...
NOV 26, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 26, 2018
A New Test for Fibromyalgia
Anyone who has experienced severe, chronic pain knows the long process it takes to get a correct diagnosis. Many people see an average of 5-6 specialists b...
NOV 26, 2018
Videos
NOV 26, 2018
How to get rid of jet lag
Have you ever gone on an amazing trip somewhere only to have it totally ruined by jet lag? Jet lag is what we experience when our internal clocks are throw...
DEC 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 05, 2018
SpaceX Launches International Space Station Resupply Mission
On Wednesday, Elon Musk-owned SpaceX launched its 20th rocket of 2018 to send a fresh batch of supplies to the International Space Station. The rocket blas...
DEC 09, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 09, 2018
Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is defined by the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5), as a chronic disorder tha...
Loading Comments...