All in the Mind – Our Inner Voices

All in the Mind – Our Inner Voices

– about people “talking to himself/herself”
– inner voice is used to remind, calm (it’ll be ok), motivate, plan, self-criticise
– small children are very free in their use of their inner voice & the child uses language to regulate their own behaviour (it is different to thinking), adults less so to varying degrees (from hardly at all to a lot)
– it is believed that a 1/4 of all human experience involves “inner speech”
– there are scientific methods to assess inner speech now
– sometimes it can be fully formed sentences
– other times it can be in “note form”
– children often talk to themselves out loud – it is part of play & important to develop language [the dialogic thinking model]
– Vygotsky defined stages of development as follows
– babies are born into a social world
– 1st stage – dialogue out loud with others
– 2nd stage – children talk to themselves out loud (“private speech”)
– 3rd stage – internalised, silent, “inner speech” which has the property of a dialogue [like a conversation with the self]
– dialogue has special qualities – represents point of view & perspective
– a very important relationship between language & thinking
– you do not need to be able to speak, to think (e.g. a mute, or deaf person, & babies think)
– program also looks at creativity & how writers often report hearing the voices of their characters & that they “enter into a dialogue” with their characters; others liken it to listening into/tuning into a conversation
– this concept of “tuning in” to our inner speech is believed important to our emotional awareness (and has a role in our self-narrative) as well as cognitive & emotional regulation
– auditory hallucinations, on the other hand, are heard internally but seem to come from an external source – these are obviously very distressing/frightening & a sign of mental illness – (for e.g. schizophrenia, but can also be linked to PTSD, & eating disorders)
– it is not understood entirely why the person does not recognise it as their own internal speech rather than seemingly to be from external / there is also a memory link, in particular childhood trauma associated with hearing voices from seemingly external sources
– there is an international “hearing voices” movement which is about recognising the importance of hearing voices
– if we are made up of voices, then the self is multi-faceted not unitary & it poses big questions about the self & who we are
– dissociation mediates trauma which leads to hearing voices

Source: ABC RN, broadcast date: 19 June 2016


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