Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. Steve Jobs
During every waking moment, we carry on an inner dialogue. Whether you call it inner speech, self-talk, internal dialogue, or thinking to yourself, it seems to be an important part of our daily life. Even though most of these inner dialogues stay well-hidden (except for the occasionally embarrassing moment), inner speech is far more important than most people realize. Even from early childhood, inner speech plays a vital role in regulating how we think and behave. Not only does it often allow us to "rehearse" different scenarios and enables us to avoid rash actions, but research looking at people who seem incapable of inner speech (such as different psychiatric conditions) suggests that inner speech can shape how we see the world around us.
A new review article published in Psychological Bulletin explores the many different aspects of inner speech and how it can change and develop across our life span. Written by Ben Alderson-Day and Charles Fernyhough of Durham University, the article reviews existing research on inner speech and what makes it so important. As they point out, we often have different definitions of what we mean by inner speech and even refer to it by many different names. Research studies looking at inner speech use terms such as inner speech, private speech, self-talk, covert speech, silent
speech, verbal thinking, verbal mediation, inner monologue, inner dialogue, inner voice, articulatory imagery, voice imagery, speech imagery, and auditory verbal imagery, etc. For that matter, researchers have also looked at externalized self-talk, i.e.,, talking to yourself, which can be considered a form of inner speech as well.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.