Talking to Yourself and Health
Moms Who Talk to Themselves? Perfectly Normal
by Mommy MD Guide Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH
Motherhood isn’t always a cake walk. Missed sleep, fatigue, and worry can give moms a major case of brain drain. On the craziest days, you might even wonder if you’re losing your mind. It’s possible, but talking to yourself is not a reliable indicator.
If you talk to yourself, you’re not alone. Most adults report talking to themselves at least every few days, and some admit that they talk to themselves on an hourly basis.
Does talking to yourself mean that you might be a bit crazy? Not at all, according to the results of a recent study*. As a parent, you’ve probably observed this behavior in your child. Children often talk to themselves as a way of learning and remembering new information: counting from one to ten, saying their ABCs, and guiding themselves through the process of tying their shoes.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin recently conducted a series of experiments to determine whether talking to oneself can help people find particular items. The studies were inspired by the observation that many people—not just sleep-deprived moms—often talk to themselves when searching for something, such as lost keys, misplaced cell phones, and errant sippy cups.
The scientists found that talking to yourself can be advantageous, especially when searching for familiar items. Talking to yourself doesn’t mean that you’re crazy, but since your friends, family, and co-workers might not realize this, it’s best to use your inside voice when you do.
*Gary Lupyan, Daniel Swingley. Self-directed speech affects visual search performance. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2011; : 1 DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2011.647039