Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses
Do you talk to yourself? Be proud to admit it if you do. Researchers have discovered that people who mumble to themselves are actually geniuses. Talking to yourself can help you focus your concentration on an activity. It can help you study, brainstorm new ideas, and even be more creative. Talking to yourself is not a sign of craziness…it’s a sign of intelligence!
In one study, psychologist-researcher Gary Lupyan looked at whether memory is enhanced when we talk to ourselves. Having noticed that he often muttered to himself when searching for something in the supermarket or refrigerator, Lupyan conducted an experiment to determine whether self-talking actually helps us remember.
Twenty participants were shown food objects in a supermarket and asked to remember them. Half of the participants were instructed to repeat each object’s name, and the other half were instructed to remain silent. The participants who verbalized the names of the objects were able to locate them significantly faster, 50 to 100 milliseconds more quickly than the non-speakers.
After studying self-talking behavior, Lupyan and psychologist Daniel Swigley have determined that people who talk to themselves are geniuses for the following reasons:
- Talking to yourself enhances your memory. When you talk to yourself, you are stimulating your senses. You hear and visualize the words, which helps you to remember.
- Talking to yourself helps you focus. Speaking aloud helps you concentrate on the task at hand. In Lupyan’s study, saying the word “orange” triggered a visual image of an orange in the participants’ minds, which helped them to recall more quickly.
- Talking to yourself helps you clarify your thoughts. We all have many thoughts running through our minds at any given time. Some types of thoughts can be helpful while others are not. Talking to ourselves helps us reason through our thoughts when we aren’t ready to share them yet with others.
For example, if you are struggling with a highly emotional situation at work, you may have difficulty calming down. You realize that expressing your angry thoughts won’t solve anything, but what do you do with them? The solution is to isolate and mutter to yourself. As you talk, you sift through your thoughts and begin to see the situation more clearly. Your angry fantasies become silly ideas that you can easily let go, and you eventually relax. Talking to yourself also helps with problem solving. “It helps you clarify your thoughts,” says psychologist Linda Sapadin, “tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you are contemplating.”
All geniuses talk to themselves! So be proud of it. The benefits include sharpening your memory, boosting your concentration, and clarifying your thought process. The next time you find yourself mumbling alone quietly, you might decide you have good reason to speak a little louder.