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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Talking yourself into Control

Much like the post yesterday - it seems our ability to verbalise thought affect more of our behaviour than we realise.

Yesterday was Self-regulation and today is self-control:

"New research shows that using your inner voice plays an important role in controlling impulsive behaviour.

"We give ourselves messages all the time with the intent of controlling ourselves -- whether that's telling ourselves to keep running when we're tired, to stop eating even though we want one more slice of cake, or to refrain from blowing up on someone in an argument," says Alexa Tullett, PhD Candidate and lead author on the study. "We wanted to find out whether talking to ourselves in this 'inner voice' actually helps."

Through a series of tests they found that people acted more impulsively when they couldn't use their inner voice or talk themselves through the tasks. It's always been known that people have internal dialogues with themselves, but until now, we've never known what an important function they serve "This study shows that talking to ourselves in this 'inner voice' actually helps us exercise self control and prevents us from making impulsive decisions."

Participants performed a test on a computer. If they saw a particular symbol appear on the screen, they were told to press a button. If they saw a different symbol, they were told to refrain from pushing the button. In order to block their "inner voice," participants were told to repeat one word over and over as they performed the test. This prevented them from talking to themselves."





The study yesterday talked about how vocabulary helped boys self-regulate, and today talking ourselves through a task has been shown to help us self-control. It seems that a lot of our actions can be enhanced or reduced by talking to ourselves about it.

The knowledge of this can be applied to such things as anger therapy or mild eating disorders, showing how patients could talk themself out of the negative, impulsive actions.

This principle could also be applied to other aspects of our lives, such self-esteem, happiness, mild compulsive disorders, panic attack or phobias.

Link to Article

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