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.