Talking To Yourself Can Make You Smarter, Says Science
Well this is great news!
When we see someone talking to themselves, it’s easy to think that person is a little weird. However, I have to admit that there are moments where I find myself thinking out loud.
I give myself pep talks in the morning, dictate my recipes out loud in the kitchen, and even audibly laugh at jokes that exist only in my mind.
Sure, maybe this might look a bit strange to an outsider, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little discussion with yourself. In fact, science supports the idea that talking to yourself has a variety of benefits.
It can actually make you smarter and more focused while improving your memory.
Researcher Gary Lupyan from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that he too muttered to himself on occasion, especially when shopping at the grocery store. From this personal experience, he decided to conduct a study on the benefits of self-directed speech.
In his study, participants were shown 20 objects in a supermarket and asked to go find certain ones. Half of the participants were told to repeat the object out loud when looking for the object, and the others were asked remained silent.
Lupyan and his team found that the participants who spoke out loud found the objects faster than those who didn’t talk at all.
Why is this? Self-directed speech can help increase your focus by enhancing your attention span, allowing you to focus without distraction.
Using verbal cues can help trigger mental pictures, and this can improve your functioning and strengthen your memory.
Researchers say the best type of self-talk is instructional, as it can help set a goal and guide your behavior. This is especially true with children, as much research has found that that talking through a task helps kids learn.
Adults can benefit from this as well — so it seems as though there is another childhood habit we shouldn’t give up just yet!
Follow-up research from the same study found that repeating the name of the object worked best to facilitate the search when the participant was familiar with the grocery item and had a visual image in her head that was similar to the actual image.
For example, a search for Diet Coke would be easier facilitated than a search for something like Speed Stick deodorant, which conjures up a less detailed picture.
Repeating unfamiliar words actually slowed participants down, which suggests that self-talk works best with something you are already familiar with. This is because your brain already has internal visual reminders of the object.
So next time you find yourself murmuring your to-do list on your commute to work, don’t feel embarrassed — it’ll only make you smarter!