Why Do We Need Words To Think?

Every so often I see a questions that brings me up short.  For example, we need words to talk, but why do we need words to think?

Durham Unvoices-withiniversity psychologist Charles Fernyhough has been studying this.   Fernyhough thinks approximately 20 to 25 percent of our waking time is spent with language directed at ourselves.  Why?  There can be important benefits.  For example, athletes use self-talk for focusing and motivation.  The problems are when the voices seem to come from the outside rather than within us, whether they be friendly or destructive.

The result of this examination is a new book,  The Voices Within, in which Fernyhough addresses the workings of inner voices and how they might relate to creativity and development.   To reach his conclusions, he uses both original research and cultural factors, including something called a ‘dialogic thinking’ model and other “ground-breaking research techniques”.  (This is a subject that gets pretty technical in a hurry!)

If this interests you, especially if you talk to yourself a lot, an excellent summary can be found at http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/10/its-actually-pretty-weird-that-we-think-in-words.html? .  The photo comes from Amazon.com.


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