Why Do People Talk To Themselves?

Some people have a habit of talking to themselves. They speak audibly without addressing their words to anyone around them. Talking to themselves may be a very satisfying habit for those who do so; nonetheless, “Why do people talk to themselves?” is a reasonable question to ask.

Private speech, as psychologists might call it, is also considered rather notorious. In many jokes, talking to oneself is taken as a principal sign that one is mentally unstable, and this trend is probably one of the reasons why the question “Why do people talk to themselves?” comes up from time to time. People can become concerned when talking to oneself occurs outside of situations that they consider socially acceptable.

Parents, babysitters, teachers, and sometimes, casual observers could notice when children talk to themselves. Kids might do so as much as or even more than they talk to others. They can chatter to themselves before they fall asleep, describing events of their day and reenacting conversations, and their parents could overhear them through a baby monitor.

People who look after children can misinterpret kids’ chattering to themselves as a sign of inattentiveness, insubordination, or even mental instability, but this habit is a part of kids’ cognitive development. It helps children practice language skills and reflect on their experiences.

Children may use private speech so that they can control their impulses. When tempted by something forbidden, they might verbalize warnings they have heard from their parents. Kids in new or challenging situations are also heard talking to themselves as they work through puzzles, for instance. At the other end of the age spectrum, old people talk to themselves too.

Another possible answer to “Why do people talk to themselves?” is that by talking to themselves, some people are able to create a pleasurable sense of another person’s presence. Such people might talk to themselves when they would otherwise feel loneliness or embarrassment. In talking to themselves, the presence these people create can be that of family members whom they lost. This type of talking to oneself is different from actually addressing a hallucinated presence.

The evolutionary musicologist Joseph Jordania suggested a possible answer for “Why do people talk to themselves?” when he said that talking to yourself can be used for avoiding silence. Furthermore, he said that humans’ ancestors, as social animals, used contact calls to keep contact constantly with other members of their group and signaled danger by freezing and becoming silent, so a prolonged silence can trigger uneasy or fearful feelings. Talking to oneself is a way for human beings to fill in long-drawn-out gaps of silence.

Posted at July 12th, 2011.

18 Responses to “Why Do People Talk To Themselves?”

  1. kylie says:

    some peaple talk to themselves because there crazy or there trying to express there filings.so if you talk to your self its ok.some peaple make fun of you but always rember your always beatiful/handsome

  2. Mystified says:

    Geez, learn how to use spell check–hec, go back to school and just learn. No wonder the human race is at risk.

  3. Letrice says:

    hi I know someone that talks to themself all day long in the head is that a problem they can do all their responsibilities that they have to do but they still talking to themselves everyday

  4. alfie says:

    Hey mystified humans are a species not a race. You better go back to school & learn too.

  5. Diane says:

    yes a species, but it is a common phrase that is used. So mystified is not necessarily wrong. The first person does need to learn to spell check. Try Google chrome, it helps with that :)

  6. keep smiling says:

    Seriously!! You guys are up about a spell check or the difference between race and species.
    Its okay if someone made few mistakes while typing or probably is not well-verse with the language, how is that our business, unless of course, you are the tutor. Try teaching instead criticizing.
    Hey Alfie, I so understand what the comment made you feel. You’re a good human being and am sure you know better ways to deal with things.
    Diane, nice work there mate! :)

    Keep smiling people. :)

  7. Elijah says:

    Mystified. Don’t criticize anyone for lacking in literacy skills because maybe he or she did the best that he or she could. How would you like to be judged in front of everyone. Furthermore, this blog is addressing the issue of personal dialogue, not grammar. Unless you are going to tutor people please keep your negative criticisms to yourself.

  8. Humbug Filibuster says:

    Why do people talk to themselves? Why does anybody talk to himself? Why not talk to oneself? Why do people ask so many questions? What are they saying? Where’s the end? What’s the point? Who cares? What?

  9. Jessica says:

    Not everyone that talks to them selves is crazy !! Ignorant people say mean things like that ! Yes in some situations a person may be mentally ill but not in all cases… my situation for instance…I have no one and live alone….I am alone all day long everyday… no one hardly calls me ever…..other than a nieghbour saying a simple hi once in awhile to me. Sometimes I catch myself talking to myself….out loud ( not loud enough so anyone can hear me though) or sometimes I reason things to myself about how I feel about my life ect…. if I didn’t talk to myself I would hardly ever hear my own voice. I know I am not crazy..just extremely lonely. Also I talk to my dog out loud about stuff……and I bet there are people out there who could never understand what it is like to be so lonely in this large world where there are so many people ! But it happens sad to say.
    Wonder why I stay to myself ? it is not because I enjoy it or prefer it. It is because every person I have ever trusted has used me, taken advantage of me or hurt me. So I stay to myself because I am trying to heal from it right now and do not feel ready to trust anyone again. It is never right to judge someone who might be talking to themselves as you do not know them or their life experiences. And I bet alot of people talk to themselves if they are willing to admit it that is ? remember the movie “” Cast Away” with Tom Hanks ? he was’t crazy either…just lonely and trying to find away to fill the void. Humans need companionship .

  10. jack c says:

    Considering the choices of whom we often have to talk to, it seems to me that talking to one’s self isn’t at all bad. It’s a good way to hear what your words might sound like when that eventuality arrives. And in reference to what was said above, how a person spells is not as important as what that person has to say. I was once caught talking to myself and the person who caught me made a great deal of fun out of it. About two days later I caught him talking to himself with great aplomb.

  11. Spinsteritis says:

    People who were alone most of their life talk to themselves because the silence is painful. Everyone forgets in the movie where Tom Hanks’ character is shipwrecked on an island he talks to himself or he uses a basketball to pretend he is talking to someone. Humans are sociable creatures but society is breaking down due to technology and sadly because the world is becoming a more lonelier place because economics forces families to move away from each other. Isolation seems to be the way of the future. It is harder and harder for some women to find long lasting relationships. I also like to believe that people who talk to themselves have a higher IQ than those who don’t. Society also frowns upon eccentricity when some of the most brilliant successful minds were eccentric..which is sad.

  12. tinkerbelle says:

    Jessica & Spinsteritis (I love your name, Spinster, by the way): So well put by each of you. I’m in the same boat and everything both of you said is probably true of me. Live alone, lost my mom who was my sounding board; not many friends made in life due to lots of moves; never married, took care of mom till the end; people in work mostly form shallow cliques or are social wannabes or sycophants of the most popular gossip, so you try to form relationships with these people and they turn around and gossip about you and your life and that you talk to yourself – so what’s the use? People are getting worse and worse, just like the Bible says (Romans 1; II Tim., etc.). Probably if I had a man in my life that would be the best answer because I really love men and I like to do fun things with them, but being in my 50s and not as attractive anymore makes that happening pretty improbable. So I’m gonna stick to this year’s resolution to lose weight and get more attractive – mostly for myself – and join a Christian mingle service and get going with life. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find someone

  13. The Bride of Christ. says:

    Thank you Kylie. Bless you for saying what you said. Yes we are all beautiful/handsome. The creator has made us all unique. There is not another person like me on this planet. It not the spelling mistake that matter it is the content of what is being said. My answer to as to why people talk to themselves is that they are lonely and live by themselves.
    The Bride of Christ

  14. Genus says:

    Hello All:

    I talk to myself and sometimes its audible. I am not crazy, (haven’t been certified anyhow;)) nor am I lonely. Its more of a confirmation of my thoughts and clearance of such. I believe that if more folks talked to themselves in an audible way, they would talk themselves out of some of crazy thoughts they think. Like . . . ummm, an angry person may think twice about walking up in a crowded theatre and shooting up the place, if they actually heard what that sounds like OUT LOUD. Just a small example, but seriously, if you heard yourself say, I should smack the Hell out of my supervisor, then you’d probably reconsider the act since doing so would land you in jail and on the unemployment line.

    On spell check, I think the grammar is the issue, not the spelling. In defense of the offender and the person who noticed, this society is promoting illiteracy, texting, shortcuts, general conduct, etc. — not a good thing, but a sad one. At least if its pointed out, there’s room for change. Peace to all.

  15. viv wilson says:

    Jessica – have you ever thought of joining a local church ? I did this and found a wonderful ‘family’ group of people that really cared about me and my porblems. You will never be lonely again and will always have this lovely bunch of people to be friends with and maybe even get to help others in the community like yourself? Give it a go – it really works ! Tinkerbelle has already thought about doing it – I urge you to join a Christian fellowship and really start living your life ! <

  16. Student Pursuing AAS Degree in Cisco Networking says:

    I am doing a research paper based on what makes people appear to be crazy. it is a 15 page report split into 3 sections. My first essay was an Inquiry based on Schizophrenia Dissociative identity disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive disorder. Now i am writing an analysis paper, the three topics i have this paper split into are ‘how the human mind works’ having different frames of mind, and what could cause strain on ones mind to cause them to lack focus in who they were. the second topic being anger issues, what can cause people to get angry, and why can that anger associate itself with losing ones self in their temper. and the third topic is about talking to themselves. I am not entirely sure if the final topic fits, but to be honest I’m doing my best on such a hard paper. I know not all people who talk to themselves are crazy, even sometimes i talk to myself when I’m trying to make sense of something confusing. It helps to verbally throw idea’s out and create a mental image of how you can organize your own thoughts. There is also writing, i started writing poetry because of this. I haven’t the slightest clue about poetry, yet i have people telling me i should get some of my poems published. (i never pursued that) anyways, I am trying to find “Psych-Evaluated situations that can cause people to talk to themselves (such as schizophrenia ‘Delusions and hallucinations’) but other than schizophrenia if there are any. Because I have seen people in the city mumbling stuff to themselves in a repetitive manner that seemed like crazy pointless gibberish, and i was just wondering what that could be.

    I apologies ahead of time if anything i said offended anyone, it was not intended. Thank you

  17. jim says:

    I also talk to myself it is sad that others think I may be a little off. I feel a lot less stressed when I do this. I also pray and the word of God says to ask and you will receive. and I do- try this ( PRAY )

  18. Ed says:

    I think that any individual who speaks to oneself may be curious about the nature of life and events in general. Many examples can correspond to keeping your sanity in check, or even having a simple conversation about your day. It’s true that millions of individuals suffer from loneliness. However, no one wants to feel lonely or even forgotten…every single person of this world wants to leave some kind of “Mark of Remembrance.”

    –“I would rather be remembered as someone who spoke about life with hope, happiness, loyalty, and imaginative beauty than fall victim to those who create an artificial way of living.” —

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