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live_rose's avatar

Why do we talk out loud to ourselves?

Asked by live_rose (1223 points ) December 8th, 2010

I’m not referring to when clinically insane people talk to voices no one else can hear. But yesterday at work I was taking milkshakes from the freezer and I was talking out loud, no one else was back there. I wasn’t counting or doing difficult thinking I was just saying something I could’ve easily just said in my head. Is there a reason for that? Is that unusual?

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41 Answers

Kayak8's avatar

I usually don’t, but I have a hearing impairment so, no need!

HungryGuy's avatar

I talk out loud to myself quite often. But then again, I AM clinically insane…

Scooby's avatar

We’re all mad!! :-/
I do it too, usually when exasperated…….. :-/
A little madness never hurt!! did it? ;-)

kenmc's avatar

I do this too. I just find it to be natural. I may do it because I’m alone and I can say whatever the hell I want without people thinking I’m weird or judging me otherwise. Basically, it’s a reliese (a relief and a release).

everephebe's avatar

I find myself to be pretty good company, wise and thoughtful. :)

I think talking out loud helps you, to “hear yourself”, in order to self assess.

cak's avatar

Since my brain surgery, I do it more. My husband has pointed that out to me, often. I don’t know why. I think I’m trying to help myself remember things. Otherwise, I’m just going off deep end; which is entirely possible.

absalom's avatar

Just fending off the silence. I love the quiet but it gets oppressive sometimes, so I talk to myself. Not a whole lot, but I do it. I don’t have a television to keep on in the background, and autocommunication is usually productive and amusing and is a way for me to rehearse imaginary social encounters beforehand. Even though they usually never happen, these encounters, because I’m too busy holed up in my apartment, probably talking to myself. Damn.

bkcunningham's avatar

I say things out loud all the time, I suppose I’m talking to myself. I talk back to the radio, the television, I say things to animals, people in vehicles, if I’m shopping by myself I sometimes say things like, “Oh, that’s nice,” or “Why do they keep moving the cookies” ...

One of my worst habits is, sometimes, I will be thinking about something, to myself, reasoning or playing something over in my mind. Before I realize it, I am talking out loud to someone (usually my husband) and starting in the middle of the conversation in my head. He knows me well enough to tell me to start over, at the beginning (and he smiles and shakes his head…usually.)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Isn’t this just a form of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other in an attempt to self-judge our own thoughts and actions? A few friends or strangers have been witnessed talking out loud, and the only ones I’ve worried about are those that appear to live on the streets. Maybe they are just like the rest of us who either have few friends or have just developed a habit that is not done by the majority of the population. My sis-in-law has a PhD. in psychology, and she talks out loud. Whenever I asked her if she was talking to me (while I was in another room), she would say that she was talking to the dog.

DancingMind's avatar

I’ll talk out loud when I’m by myself, but it’s never to myself. Always to the light switch that isn’t turning on, or the computer that isn’t loading, or the mug that just spilled my tea all over the ground… all of which, luckily enough, I haven’t had to talk to yet today.

As for talking to my actual self… not as much. Sometimes. But I will write to myself, for sure.

I’ve noticed that in movies the stars talk to themselves all the time when they’re by themselves. Usually funny, clever, quirky comments and comebacks. And I know that this is really for the camera, for us who will watch the show, but sometimes I wonder if we’ve picked up the habit from watching “people” do it our whole lives? (Actually, now that I think of it, maybe the writers just talk to themselves a lot, so their characters do the same… hm.)

stardust's avatar

I do it often enough. Sometimes, I get carried away in thought and there’s an overspill. It’s harmless. Sometimes I do it on purpose to reaffirm things for myself.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I like a good conversation and a few laughs ;)

GracieT's avatar

I don’t know why, but doesn’t it help us to work out things? That way we actually hear how our answers sound, and I don’t know exactly, but isn’t talking about issues with someone how we often deal with them? Maybe it’s a way to do that by ourselves.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’l share a precious, funny story. My niece was in kindergarten and had gotten into trouble for talking out loud in class and being too chatty with her girlfriends. My brother and sister-in-law talked to her and explained she had to obey and listen to the teacher and only talk to her friends when it was appropriate.

On Friday, the week that she had been disciplined, my brother picked her up after school. He said he knew when he made eye contact with her in the pick-up line that she wasn’t very happy. He asked her how her day was going and the general questions you ask. He then asked if she had gotten into trouble for talking.

She said she had gotten in trouble, but not for talking out loud. “We were lined up going to gym. I knew I wasn’t suppose to talk in the hallway. So I was telling myself jokes in my head. They were funny and I got in trouble for laughing out loud.”

the100thmonkey's avatar

@bkcunningham – Why the hell is a very young child getting into trouble for talking in kindergarten?

If that were my child, I’d change schools – that’s bullshit.

People talk to themselves because narrative is a fundamental of human cognition.

Coloma's avatar

I love talking to myself!
I crack myself up!

Really, I do. lol

And of course, I talk to my animals too. Sing to them…hey, it’s called humor and FUN!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I sing constantly. Never really talk to myself out loud… but you should hear me sing!

And no it’s not pop music or anything like that… More like “The toast is done! Done done done! Ewwww yeah we’re gonna get hot and toasty…. Cu-uh-uh-zzz the toa-oh-oh-oast… issssss, (everybody now) DUUUUUU… UHHHNNNNN.

sliceswiththings's avatar

I was digging through my purse yesterday for a chap stick. Later, my housemate asked, “Did you find your chap-stick?”

I didn’t remember mentioning it, which means I was muttering aloud about my chap-stick while searching for it.

El_Cadejo's avatar

For me, it helps me organize my thoughts much better if I say them out loud.

everephebe's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, Nice, very Winnie-the-Poohesque, I love it.

Blueroses's avatar

Almost constantly I have a running commentary with myself or the things around me. I think that may be why I acquired pets in the first place… just to provide a reasonable explanation if I happen to have some person overhear me.

snowberry's avatar

I have adopted my mother’s philosophy regarding talking to yourself. She said,
“I have heard that if you talk to yourself, that’s fine, but you are crazy if you start answering yourself. However, I have found that sometimes answering yourself is the only way you are going to get a decent answer.”

Yaaay Mom!

Nullo's avatar

I like to compose scenarios in my head based on things that I’ve seen or read, mostly my reactions or, “What if you added Jedi?” Some scenarios require live audio to be fully appreciated.
Lots of things are cooler if you add Jedi.

@Blueroses Get one of those wireless cell phone headsets and nobody will ever question your sanity. :D
There was a woman at work today who, at first glance, was lecturing a pizza about its overabundance of onions. But she had a headset on, so I gave her metal health the benefit of the doubt.

Blueroses's avatar

@Nullo I have actually thought about doing just that! Also wondered how many people walking around with them are pretending. Laughing at the Jedi comment.

everephebe's avatar

When I lived in New York, I saw people talking to themselves all the time, the ones that were yelling with the nice shoes usually had jawbones or other bluetooth headsets, the ones with no shoes that smelled, might have been crazy. I was in the everyone else who talked to themselves category, muttering things like, “Jeezus lady can you walk any slower?” or “I have to walk five blocks in 14 minutes or I be late but if I take the 1 train…” under my breath.

I love this xkcd on headsets.

ETpro's avatar

I find it less embarrassing that whispering internally to myself only to have me than say “What’s that you said?”

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Nullo so you do the “what if jedi were here” thing too huh?

Pandora's avatar

Repeating out loud helps me to remember things longer.
Plus it can help to drown out other things.
For me, I think its because I grew up in a noisy home with 7 people. Long bouts of silence bugs me.
Plus how else will the dog know what I was doing if I don’t spell it out for him. LOL

Trillian's avatar

I thought it was because I was a nut.

food's avatar

I do it when I´m alone and as an exclamation, usually when I´m struck by something that hurts (toe-stubbing) or that is frustrating (like dropping something, or ruining something) and sometimes when the TV show I´m watching is funny or the scene in the movie particularly pleases me.

food's avatar

I also do it when I´m memorizing things
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/science/22qna.html

Coloma's avatar

Standing on my garage landing and talking outloud to my geese this morning at sunrise who were still in the barn.

” Goood Morning, ready to come out?”
” Geese: ” Hooooonk!”

” Who wants corn?”
” Who wants to go SWIMMMMMING!”

Geese: ” HOOOOOOONK, WAAAANK!”

And so it goes….lol

Good thing I live in the middle of the woods. haha

TrkReznor's avatar

I always talk to myself. Helps me stay focused, concentrated and helps me think. Pefectly normal.

cak's avatar

@Coloma: I wish I could hear that in the morning. It would start my day the right way!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Added to The Bucket List: Spend a few days with @Coloma

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer

Bread before bed, unless you are dead! lol

deliasdancemom's avatar

Why do I answer myself…..oh yeah, right….no friends….

Blueroses's avatar

@deliasdancemom What did you say?
Oh that was me.
Well you have friends now.

Pandora's avatar

@Trillian You are crazy sweety. But that is what is so endearing.

Trillian's avatar

@Pandora Awwww, shucks. And how cool that your dog can spell!

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