Fernyhough: There's a neat study that shows that kind of self-talk actually helps you do exactly that—pick items from a supermarket array. In casual use, they are basically interchangeable, and talkingg should use whichever feels more. The key thing is that the self is multiple, that we have different parts to the self. Beck: Or you can't find something, it's supposed to be over here but it's not.
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Russ Hurlburt, [who created DES], has an example of somebody with OCD in one of his papers, where he talks about this character who complained of having constant intrusive obsessive thoughts, but when he did DES, he found there wasn't nearly so much of that. Talking to someone you don't know is uncharted territory. And that started to change, I'd say, in the last 20 years or so. But it wouldn't surprise me if, for a particular kind of moral thinking if we turned out to use language quite a bit.
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Fernyhough: When we use descriptive experience sampling [in which people are asked to report on their own inner speech]we assume that a lot of what people say when they are asked about their experience is kind of generalizations about what they think is in their own minds rather than what is actually in their own minds. Is inner speech a subcategory of thought or are they one and the same?
We can look to see if you block the language system through giving people a secondary task like repeating a word over talkkng over, does that affect the primary thing that you're interested in? Of course a lot about morality is instant and emotional and not really thought through.
You have some basic intelligence, which any one-year-old baby is showing. It has functions in imagination, in creating alternative realities.
Beck: The obvious challenge to studying this is that the only thoughts you can really know with any certainty are your own. The idea is not that you need language for ta,king but that when language comes along, it sure is useful. Hearing voices is strongly associated with traumatic events. So any of hearing voices has to bring memory into it in some way.
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Beck: So people might have fundamental assumptions about their personality or their thought patterns and then find out they're not true? Babies prove it every day; animals prove it every day. Somewhere around age 2, language comes together with intelligence and bang! There's also a lot of problems with that idea. Our fear assumptions fail to take into the social norms of politeness, Schroeder says. That certainly fits with how private speech works with children, children will talk to themselves more when things are more difficult.
So I try to avoid it—quite a difficult term to avoid. Talking with and talking to can both mean carrying on a conversation.
I think it was assumed that inner speech was just this kind of monologue, the output of a solitary voice chattering away in your head. And we now think there are a few main kinds of inner speech.
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I can have an inner dialogue with my mum, for example. As well as in my head. Beck: So how does that apply to trying to understand what happens to people who hear voices or have auditory wuth
As young children, we engaged in social dialogues, we talked to other people, and we went through a stage known as private speech, where we talk to ourselves out loud. Beck: Of course, most of the situations we're doing it in now are not that extreme. A lot of regular people will have relatively fleeting or one-off experiences of hearing a voice at some point in their lives.
And that's why people can be surprised by DES. As adults, in particular situations, we find it really useful to atlking it out loud rather than just in our he. Compared with talking to your partner, your best friend, talkibg your mom, the unknowns. Is this how we can change our own minds? Oh c'mon, you know you've experienced this; the conversation with the person who just doesn't seem to come up for air.
Talking “to” vs talking “with” someone. So you tend to get a bit of a mix.
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And then there's a sort of social and cultural pressure as well. Fernyhough: Yes.
It can be you tallking a listener but it can also be another person. Whether it's out loud or in your head? So I think what is happening is we make a lot of self-generalizations about our experience, we have a kind of self-theoretical approach to our experience that doesn't always match up with what's actually there when you try and capture it moment by moment. Beck: So I talk to myself all the time, out loud.
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It's funny, I always find I talk to myself out loud most at the grocery store. The idea of having a conversation with another being. And that is a really fascinating philosophical question, because it suggests we can be mistaken about our own experience. How might the way we talk to ourselves, or the way we interrogate our own beliefs in our minds affect our moral talkinf
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But I certainly think you can be intelligent and do talkung of really clever stuff without language. Fernyhough: The basic story is quite a simple one. And if we can be wrong about what goes on in our he, then that's pretty wild.
And that fits with the idea that inner speech has a lot of different functions. Just something about the talkinng store stresses me out, all the people looking at you while you're trying to buy your food.
Beck: You think of inner speech in terms of a dialogue. And also other factors wifh be involved, memory seems to play a huge part in this. Beck: He was just noticing those ones more perhaps? Somehow those traumatic events seem to be breaking back in to consciousness in a transformed way.