by Dr. Lorin Bradbury
Question: Are people who talk to themselves crazy? I do it all the time, and my husband thinks it’s weird.
Answer: Previously, I had heard that more intelligent people talk to themselves, or think aloud when problem solving. Not knowing where I had obtained that information—whether it was anecdotal, or based on scientific study, I went looking for an answer. In a Google search, I came across a write-up in Time magazine. “New research says that those who can’t seem to keep their inner monologues in (a nice way of describing talking to yourself) … are actually more likely to stay on task, remain focused better and show improved perception capabilities.” The author of the Time magazine article quoted above, Tim Newcomb, derived his information from an article written by professors Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swignley, and published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
In an attempt to corroborate the above information, I ran a search of the American Psychological Association (APA) PsychInfo data base, and the only thing I came up came up with was the same article by Lupyan and Swignley. So I cannot say with any degree of certainty that the above findings are correct. However, the findings make good sense. People who talk aloud when problem solving are not crazy, they simply are solving problems utilizing an additional pathway, and at the same time they are reducing distraction.
Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected]