Speaking out loud alone is a way to help us locate objects we have misplaced around us

Shirley Marie Bradby

October 16, 2018

Speaking out loud alone is a way to help us locate objects we have misplaced around us
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Have you ever seen people walking around the streets or in supermarkets thinking aloud? Well, even though it may seem that they are out of their mind, in reality, they are not and it is a recent US study to prove it.

According to psychologists Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swingley, in fact, it is the most intelligent individuals who give vent to their thoughts in public. 

The famous scientist, Albert Einstein, is an example to remind us that behind this unusual practice hides a genius.

via sas.upenn.edu

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The American study "Self-directed speech affects visual search performance", published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2011, has dispelled a common belief that people who think aloud have a screw loose!

In fact, the research of the two psychologists aims to learn more about the effects of externalizing a thought on visual processes, which are used by these individuals to look for specific objectives.

For example, when subjects search for a pen on a desk, they pronounce the name aloud to memorize it and facilitate its search, without being aware of it.

This mechanism helps these individuals to strengthen the association between the abstract aspect of the object's name and the visual, material aspect.

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Psychologists Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swingley asked 22 university students to search for bread or an apple in a supermarket. The result was that those who said the name of the item of food to be bought out loud found it faster than those who did not.

This result is explained by the fact that the information given to young people passes from the perceptual or conceptual sphere of the object to that of the linguistic code, and then restarts from the linguistic to the non-verbal sphere of the conceptual representation of bread or apple. 

In short, our brain works using visual and verbal association processes, and this seemingly laborious mechanism helps us to rearrange ideas, calm our nerves, and focus our attention. Beware, however, all this works only if we know the nature of the object we are looking for precisely because we activate all these gears.

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In short, it would be good practice to slowly exercise our mind to think aloud to strengthen our cognitive processes. After all, if scholars say it's not crazy, why not do it? 

Source: https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~swingley/papers/lupyanSwingley_qjep11.pdf  

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