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Behav Brain Res. 2014 Mar 15;261:220-39. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.12.034. Epub 2014 Jan 8.

What is that little voice inside my head? Inner speech phenomenology, its role in cognitive performance, and its relation to self-monitoring.

Author information

1
University Grenoble Alpes, LPNC, F-38040 Grenoble, France; CNRS, LPNC, UMR 5105, F-38040 Grenoble, France; INSERM U1028-CNRS UMR5292, Brain Dynamics and Cognition Team, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, F-69500 Lyon-Bron, France; University Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, F-69000 Lyon, France; INSERM, U836, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences, 38700 La Tronche, France. Electronic address: perronemarcela@gmail.com.
2
Laboratoire de phonétique, Département de Linguistique, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada.
3
INSERM U1028-CNRS UMR5292, Brain Dynamics and Cognition Team, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, F-69500 Lyon-Bron, France; University Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, F-69000 Lyon, France.
4
University Grenoble Alpes, LPNC, F-38040 Grenoble, France; CNRS, LPNC, UMR 5105, F-38040 Grenoble, France.
5
University Grenoble Alpes, LPNC, F-38040 Grenoble, France; CNRS, LPNC, UMR 5105, F-38040 Grenoble, France; GIPSA-lab, Département Parole et Cognition, UMR CNRS 5216, Université de Grenoble, Grenoble, France.

Abstract

The little voice inside our head, or inner speech, is a common everyday experience. It plays a central role in human consciousness at the interplay of language and thought. An impressive host of research works has been carried out on inner speech these last fifty years. Here we first describe the phenomenology of inner speech by examining five issues: common behavioural and cerebral correlates with overt speech, different types of inner speech (wilful verbal thought generation and verbal mind wandering), presence of inner speech in reading and in writing, inner signing and voice-hallucinations in deaf people. Secondly, we review the role of inner speech in cognitive performance (i.e., enhancement vs. perturbation). Finally, we consider agency in inner speech and how our inner voice is known to be self-generated and not produced by someone else.

KEYWORDS:

auditory verbal hallucination; inner signing; inner speech; inner speech monitoring; inner voice; silent reading; verbal mind wandering; verbal thoughts

PMID:
24412278
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbr.2013.12.034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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