Internal monologue  

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An internal monologue, also called self-talk, inner speech, inner discourse or internal discourse, is a person's inner voice which provides a running verbal monologue of thoughts while they are conscious. It is usually tied to a person's sense of self. It is particularly important in planning, problem solving, self-reflection, self-image, critical thinking, emotions, and subvocalization (reading in one's head). As a result, it is relevant to a number of mental disorders, such as depression, and treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy which seek to alleviate symptoms by providing strategies to regulate cognitive behaviour. It may reflect both conscious and subconscious beliefs.

In some cases people may think of inner speech as coming from an external source, as with schizophrenic auditory hallucinations. Additionally, not everyone has a verbal internal monologue. The looser flow of thoughts and experiences, verbal or not, is called a stream of consciousness, which can also refer to a related technique in literature.

In a theory of child development formulated by Lev Vygotsky, inner speech has a precursor in private speech (talking to oneself) at a young age.


In fiction, when one person reads the mind of another, it is often described as being able to hear this internal monologue as if it were said out loud.

When children are taught to read out loud and then later taught to read quietly, they often subvocalize. This has led to a discipline called Speed reading that attempts to suppress this.

There is uncertainty about what the source of these internal sentences are in some conditions. Attribution for a recently produced internal sentence may lead to concerns over schizophrenia, hallucinations, or hearing voices.

Contemplation attempts to calm the internal voice by various means.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Internal monologue" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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