My ongoing refusal to grow up...

Much of what I write consists of me talking to myself, but in a manner which allows anyone to listen. Normally, we think of people who talk to themselves as a bit weird, if not mentally ill, and this is especially true if they do so in public. I'd like to be able to say that I don't talk to myself in public, because I really don't -- not in the conventional sense. (Yeah, I was once angrily accused of talking to myself in public because I was talking, to Justin, about this blog, on a cell phone at a mall, but I think my accuser was a busybody who overheard and disliked the conversation.)

The problem is, I consider blogging to be a form of talking to myself in public, as I just admitted. So am I crazier than I think? Should I care?

Maybe not.

Dean Esmay linked an article in Science Daily offering scientific support for the position that talking to yourself is good -- at least, if you're a child:

Parents should not worry when their pre-schoolers talk to themselves; in fact, they should encourage it, says Adam Winsler, an associate professor of psychology at George Mason University. His recent study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly showed that 5-year-olds do better on motor tasks when they talk to themselves out loud (either spontaneously or when told to do so by an adult) than when they are silent.

"Young children often talk to themselves as they go about their daily activities, and parents and teachers shouldn't think of this as weird or bad," says Winsler. "On the contrary, they should listen to the private speech of kids. It's a fantastic window into the minds of children."

In the study, "'Should I let them talk?': Private speech and task performance among preschool children with and without behavior problems," 78 percent of the children performed either the same or better on the performance task when speaking to themselves than when they were silent.

Well, that's a relief. Instead of being insane, I'm merely refusing to grow up!

The news also came as a relief to Dean, who said,

That's a relief. I talk to myself, and answer myself, all the frickin' time.
Same here. Every damn day!

(In an incredible coincidence, just yesterday I was told to grow up and start acting like a "good little citizen." Ouch.)

posted by Eric on 07.11.08 at 11:20 AM


Here's a simple rule of thumb from someone who has done emergency psych for 30 years: if there's no problem, there's no problem.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  July 11, 2008 11:38 AM


Is there some way you could communicate that to everyone working for or advising the vast bureaucratic "helping" network?

Eric Scheie   ·  July 11, 2008 12:11 PM

Hmm, I always considered talking to oneself to be thinking out loud, short of conversations with pink elephants or little green men of course. Seems to me that sometimes, hearing an idea tends to flesh it out a bit if it is a little muddled. I don't consider myself to be mentally unstable, it's been weeks since I've needed a visit to the mothership ! I'm fine....really I am.

Edward Lunny   ·  July 11, 2008 1:35 PM

Talking to oneself brings benefits both early and late in life:

  • Toddlers use it to develop their language skills.
  • Old folks use it to talk through tasks as they perform them, to avoid losing focus on what they are doing.
Sadly, I've done both in my time.

notaclue   ·  July 11, 2008 4:11 PM

I too talk to myself.My reason for it is that right here right now there is no one with intellect enough to converse with me.So I talk out loud to myself.

eath   ·  July 11, 2008 5:30 PM

Eric, I would be happen if I could get anyone to understand it in social work, let alone everyone.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  July 12, 2008 2:53 PM

AVI, it would help if they understood when there WAS a problem too.

Don't get me started on psychiatrists and their enablers right now.

Donna B.   ·  July 13, 2008 12:50 AM

Sanity is optional.

Beck   ·  July 19, 2008 11:02 PM

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