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J Exp Child Psychol. 2010 Dec;107(4):438-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2010.06.002. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

The roles of private speech and inner speech in planning during middle childhood: evidence from a dual task paradigm.

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Department of Psychology, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.


Children often talk themselves through their activities, producing private speech that is internalized to form inner speech. This study assessed the effect of articulatory suppression (which suppresses private and inner speech) on Tower of London performance in 7- to 10-year-olds, relative to performance in a control condition with a nonverbal secondary task. Experiment 1 showed no effect of articulatory suppression on performance with the standard Tower of London procedure; we interpret this in terms of a lack of planning in our sample. Experiment 2 used a modified procedure in which participants were forced to plan ahead. Performance in the articulatory suppression condition was lower than that in the control condition, consistent with a role for self-directed (private and inner) speech in planning. On problems of intermediate difficulty, participants producing more private speech in the control condition showed greater susceptibility to interference from articulatory suppression than their peers, suggesting that articulatory suppression interfered with performance by blocking self-directed (private and inner) speech.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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