June 22, 2024 at 2:49 pm

Here’s How Not Having An Inner Monologue Could Affect Your Memory

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

The fact that some people do not hear their voice narrating in their head, or don’t have the ability to argue with/talk to themselves, has been a hot topic of discussion lately.

After all, if you’re living your life one way, it probably never crossed your mind to think the opposite way even exists.

As scientists study more about anendophasia – the lack of an inner monologue – they are learning some interesting facts about its potential impact on memory.

Around 5-10% of the population don’t experience an internal dialogue with themselves, and recent research shows these folks could struggle more with problem solving – particularly in tasks that involve verbal memory.

Source: Shutterstock

This study is the “first to conduct a systematic investigation of whether differences in inner speech have behavioral consequences.”

And according to their results, they absolutely do.

They ran a series of experiments testing the impact of having or not having this inner monologue on four things: verbal memory, the ability to judge rhymes, task-switching, and perceptual discrimination capabilities. The study involved 46 participants who reported low to no level of inner speech and 47 people who reported high or constant levels.

The first experiment required them to remember words spelled similarly or that sound alike. They theorized that being able to say the words to yourself in your head would make remembering them easier.

Dr. Johanne Nedergard, a co-author on the study, issued a statement.

“This hypothesis turned out to be true: the participants without an inner voice were significantly worse at remembering the words.”

They found the same in the second experiment, where participants were asked whether a pair of pictures contained words that rhyme.

People with less inner dialogue fared worse.

“Here, too, it is crucial to be able to repeat the words in order to compare their sounds and thus determine whether they rhyme.”

Source: Shutterstock

The other two experiments focused on switching quickly between tasks and distinguishing between similar figures, and there seemed to be little or no difference between the groups.

“Taken together, our experiments suggest that there are real behavioral consequences of experiencing less or more inner speech. These differences may often be masked because people with anendophasia use alternate strategies to achieve similar overall performance.”

They’re not sure yet, however, how significant these issues might impact a person in practice.

“The short answer is that we just don’t know because we have only just begun to study it.”

They hope their research will be a springboard for other researchers to carry it further and more in depth in the future.

If you enjoyed that story, check out what happened when a guy gave ChatGPT $100 to make as money as possible, and it turned out exactly how you would expect.