-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- People who talk to
themselves while searching for specific objects may be able to find
them faster, researchers say.
Previous studies have suggested that when children talk to
themselves it helps guide their behavior. For example, kids may
talk themselves through tying their shoes to help remember how it's
done. The authors of the new study set out to determine if the same
was true for adults.
The findings, from Gary Lupyan, of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, and Daniel Swingley, of the University of
Pennsylvania, were published online in the
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
In the experiment, adult participants were shown 20 pictures of
different objects and asked to find one of them (for example, a jar
of peanut butter on a supermarket shelf, or a stick of butter in
the refrigerator). In some tests, they saw only a text label
informing them what they had to find.
In other tests, the participants were told to locate the object
again. This time, however, they were instructed to say the name of
the object to themselves. The study revealed that by talking to
themselves, people found the objects more quickly.
In a second experiment, participants completed a virtual
shopping task. They were shown pictures of items commonly found on
supermarket shelves and asked to identify those items whenever they
appeared. Once again, the researchers found that by telling
themselves the name of familiar objects the participants often were
able to find them faster.
The study authors concluded in their report, however, that
"although the present results provide evidence that self-directed
speech affects some aspect of the visual search process that is
specific to the target category, there is no evidence at present
that self-directed speech affected the efficiency of locating the
Harvard Medical School has more about
the human brain and how it works.
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