Talking to yourself might get you strange looks from friends and strangers alike, but according to a new study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Pscyhology, the idea is not without merit. In fact, researchers are saying that talking to yourself may have cognitive benefits.
The concept of their study, say psychologists Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swingley, was inspired by people who mutter to themselves while looking for misplaced items. The researchers set up an experiment using a similar situation.
They showed their participants 20 pictures of different objects and asked them to find one of them afterward. In some cases, participants were shown a text label indicating what they should find. In others, they were asked to read the instruction aloud. Results revealed that those who were able to read the instruction aloud were more likely to find the object faster.
In the second experiment, participants were asked to find an object multiple times in a virtual supermarket. For example, if they were tasked to find a specific brand of soda, they should be able to pinpoint where all cans of it were located. Researchers discovered that those who were able to mutter the brand of the soda to themselves while looking for it did better than those who simply kept silent.
The process of calling out to your misplaced items may seem odd, but if it can help you find your car keys faster, for example, why not try it? Your friends might raise an eyebrow at you, at first, but you won’t hear any complaints when you triumphantly find your missing keys after that.
(Photo by sean dreilinger via Flickr Creative Commons)