People Who Talk To Themselves Aren't Nuts — They're Genius

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Woman pointing at herself in mirror

I talk to myself all the time and I don't think it's crazy at all. In fact, I think it's one of my saner behaviors.

I'm constantly doing affirmations out loud, congratulating myself, and sometimes reprimanding myself. It's not like I carry on entire conversations with myself, but talking to myself helps me to put things in perspective.

Some people believe that when other people talk to themselves they're weird, but it turns out that people with very high intelligence outwardly talk to themselves.

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Why do people talk to themselves?

There are many reasons why people might be talking to themselves. According to WebMD, it could be because they're problem-solving, taking in the world around them, or even motivating themselves to do something.

Although these are some of the positive reasons, talking to yourself could be negative and could even be a sign of a serious mental illness like schizophrenia.

It all depends on the type of self-talk you're doing. Are you being mean to yourself? Knocking yourself down or calling yourself names? That kind of negative self-talk will likely have bad results.

Is talking to yourself a sign of intelligence?

Simply put, yes — talking to yourself is a sign of intelligence!

Just look at Albert Einstein. The theoretical physicist would often engage in self-talk and speak out loud to himself, repeating sentences to stay focused and pay attention to the task at hand.

If that doesn't do enough to make you believe that self-talk is a sign of high intelligence, a study conducted at Bangor University in the UK might.

The study, conducted by psychologists Daniel Swigley and Gary Lupyan, included an experiment that would help participants' search functions.

Swigley and Lupyan showed several objects that you would find in a supermarket to 20 people who were told to remember them. Half of them were told to repeat the objects, while the other half remained silent.

By the end of the experiment, the results showed that self-directed speech actually aided participants in finding the items faster. In short, the study found that using verbal clues helped participants when searching for lost objects.

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5 Reasons People Who Talk to Themselves are Intelligent

1. Talking to yourself improves cognitive performance and brain function.

When you talk to yourself, it helps you to stay on task, keep focused, and improves your perception capabilities. Swigley and Lupyan's experiment showed that cognitive performance and brain function gain a boost from self-talk.

2. Talking to yourself boosts memory retention.

According to another study from the University of Waterloo, speaking text aloud helps get words into long-term memory.

“This study confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement,” said Colin M. MacLeod, a professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Waterloo. “When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and hence more memorable.”

3. Talking to yourself helps you organize your thoughts.

If you have a presentation or interview, talking to yourself helps you practice and fine-tune what you're going to say.

If you practice something out loud enough, it will go smoother when you have to do it for real. Proper preparation helps organize your thoughts and relieves stress and anxiety related to that preparation.

4. Talking to yourself motivates you.

Self-talk has been found to be even more effective if you use second person. That means you use "you" instead of "I." Saying, "You can do it" works better than saying, "I can do it."

In another study, participants were asked to write down advice to themselves before completing anagram puzzles. The study determined that those who wrote in second-person (using "you" statements) had positive feelings about the task.

"Self-advice expressed using 'You' probably enables people to adopt a broader perspective," said co-author of the study, Dr. Sanda Dolcos.

5. Talking to yourself boosts self-esteem.

When you compliment and encourage yourself, you get a confidence boost. Talk to yourself like you'd talk to your best friend, or hype yourself up before a game or a workout.

According to a study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, self-talkers demonstrate heightened self-confidence, reduced anxiety, and even an improvement in their game.

Talking to yourself can be a very important tool for people, so go ahead and talk to the most important person in your life: you!

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day. Visit her website and her Instagram.