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Talking to Yourself Out Loud May Be a Sign of Higher Intelligence, Find Researchers

A new study shows how talking to yourself may help your brain perform better.

Man talking to a statue that looks like him. Credit: Pixabay.


While talking to yourself is often regarded a social no-no, possibly hinting at psychological problems, new research suggests that point of view may need revision. Scientists at Bangor University in the UK found talking to yourself out loud is not only be helpful but may indicate a higher level of intelligence.

The study’s participants were given written instructions and told to either read them out loud or silently. After measuring the concentration and how participants performed on tasks, researchers concluded that people were more concentrated and absorbed what they read better when doing so out loud. 

As the study’s co-author and psychologist Dr. Paloma Mari-Beffa explains, the benefits may be coming “from simply hearing oneself, as auditory commands seem to be better controllers of behavior than written ones”. 

Dr. Mari-Beffa sees speaking out loud as an extension of our inner silent talk, which has been shown to help us organize thoughts, emotions and memories, as well as plan actions. 

She cites athletes, especially tennis players, who talk to themselves in stressful moments. They use spoken self-instructions to help focus their minds and motivate themselves to achieve specific goals.

The inventor Nikola Tesla was known to talk to himself during lighting storms.

The researcher adds that talking out loud could actually be “a sign of high cognitive functioning”.

“The stereotype of the mad scientist talking to themselves, lost in their own inner world, might reflect the reality of a genius who uses all the means at their disposal to increase their brain power,” points out Dr. Mari-Beffa.

The experiment in the study was performed on a relatively small sample of 28 participants but previous studies also indicated that talking to oneself had cognitive benefits, like helping find objects quicker. 

You can read the study “The impact of verbal instructions on goal-directed behaviour” here.

Hints of the 4th dimension have been detected by physicists

What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?

Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
Technology & Innovation

Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

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Does conscious AI deserve rights?

If machines develop consciousness, or if we manage to give it to them, the human-robot dynamic will forever be different.

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  • Does AI—and, more specifically, conscious AI—deserve moral rights? In this thought exploration, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, ethics and tech professor Joanna Bryson, philosopher and cognitive scientist Susan Schneider, physicist Max Tegmark, philosopher Peter Singer, and bioethicist Glenn Cohen all weigh in on the question of AI rights.
  • Given the grave tragedy of slavery throughout human history, philosophers and technologists must answer this question ahead of technological development to avoid humanity creating a slave class of conscious beings.
  • One potential safeguard against that? Regulation. Once we define the context in which AI requires rights, the simplest solution may be to not build that thing.

A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

Lee Jae-Sung of Korea Republic lies on the pitch holding his knee during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Korea Republic and Germany at Kazan Arena on June 27, 2018 in Kazan, Russia.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
  • The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
  • The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
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Technology & Innovation

Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

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