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What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself?

The relationship between language and the self

One of the effects of aphasia is losing the ability to talk with yourself. The inner monologue disappears, leaving you unable to process your own thoughts.

The ability to speak with oneself is vital for forming emotions, processing memories, and predicting the future. Internal silence can be described as a total loss of identity.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself?

What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself?

http://nautil.us/issue/30/identity/what-happens-when-you-cant-talk-to-yourself

nautil.us

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Key Ideas

Losing your inner monologue

Your inner monologue is where you tell yourself, "I don't want to get up yet," or "This is a tasty burger."

Aphasia from Ancient Greek means "without speech." Typically aphasia occurs after a stroke. Reduced blood flow or bleeding causes brain cells to start dying, but the neural transmitters signal the brain's neurons to keep firing, even as they starve from lack of oxygen. Any brain cells killed during this time can't come back.

The damage of aphasia

The damage of aphasia tends to be in two brain areas, the Broca's area in the posterior left prefrontal cortex, and Wernicke's area, the posterior left temporal cortex.

  • In Brocha's aphasia, people have problems with fluency, mixing the order of the words, and ignoring grammar.
  • In Wernicke's aphasia, the language becomes confused or even nonsense. It can also limit fluency and word formation.
  • Global aphasia describes a severe loss of the ability to communicate or understand language.

The relationship between language and the self

One of the effects of aphasia is losing the ability to talk with yourself. The inner monologue disappears, leaving you unable to process your own thoughts.

The ability to speak with oneself is vital for forming emotions, processing memories, and predicting the future. Internal silence can be described as a total loss of identity.

Recovery from aphasia

Higher consciousness can survive without an internal monologue. Some degree of recovery from aphasia is possible. The brain has a higher degree of neural plasticity than once understood.

Although language is part of personal identity, it doesn't define the self.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

A mind without language
A mind without language

It isn't easy to imagine our mind without language. We can't think, plan, or relate to other people if we lack words to structure our ideas.

Bertrand Russel stated that the task of ...

Language and acquiring information

Take language away, and the amount of information you can acquire decreases.

Many deaf children born into hearing families live in a world unable to communicate properly. They are never exposed to abstract ideas such as "justice" or "global warming." Unless the parents learn sign language, the child's language access will be delayed or missing entirely.

Non-linguistic limitations

The lack of language affects even functions like math. Keeping track of exact numbers above four requires knowing the words for these numbers. The language-number interdependency means many deaf children in industrialized societies fall behind in math because they did not learn to count.

Social cognition is another part of your mind that needs language to develop. Why is your mom upset? Understanding social situations requires inferring what people around you are thinking.

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The thoughts in your mind
The thoughts in your mind

We are so intimate with our thoughts that we never really stop to pay close attention to our wandering minds. When we do look at our thoughts, they turn out to be more interesting than we imagined....

Inner experiences

There are five categories of inner experiences:

  • Inner speaking, which comes in many forms
  • Inner seeing, which comes from things you've seen in real life or imaginary visuals
  • Feeling, such as happiness or anger
  • Sensory awareness, like being aware of the feeling of a carpet
  • Unsymbolized thinking, which is a thought that doesn't manifest as words or images.
Different inner voices

Most of us are aware of the internal dialogue – rather than a monologue - where we talk to someone inside our head. Often, that other voice is another aspect of ourselves.


There are four kinds of inner voices: the faithful friend, the ambivalent parent, the proud rival, and the helpless child. We might adopt these different roles to help ourselves get through situations.

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Gestures and Speech
  • Gestures are closely linked to speech.
  • People seem to gesture naturally and even blind people who haven't seen anyone gesturing, are able to do so.
  • Our words and gestures close...
Gestures Aid Thinking
  • Just as speech puts our thoughts into words. pir gestures put our thoughts into our hands.
  • Gestures aid our thinking and many problem solving tasks are done in a better way through the help of gestures.
Sadness as a Person

A study found that people feel less sad if the feeling of sadness is personified, as it leads to a certain distance between the person and the emotion.

Detached from Sadness

By imagining that Sadness is a person, the sad person becomes detached from his/her sadness.

They can picture the sadness to have human traits or mannerisms, leading to an internal regulation of that particular emotion.

Not for the other Emotions

While this approach of humanizing the emotion appears to work for sadness, it can make a happy person less happy, if that feeling is humanized.

Other complex emotions like guilt and embarrassment may have any kind of effect and are yet to be studied. 

Forgetting the First Language

While our brains are flexible and adaptable as children, we tend to start having more rigid learning and relearning skills as we grow old.

There have been some extreme cases when the mother t...

Trauma associated with a Language

One of the reasons for forgetting a language is the trauma associated with speaking a particular language: The mind recalls the bad experiences while the language is heard or spoken.

The Switch Mechanism

Once a person is able to speak two or more languages, the mind has to create a mechanism to switch between those seamlessly.

Switching a language is not like forgetting, but if there is too much back and forth, the competition starts between the two languages.

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Learning a second language

Research shows that children are proficient at learning a second language up until the age of 18, roughly ten years later than earlier estimates. It also shows that it is best to start another lang...

The decline in language learning

There are three possible reasons why the ability to learn a language decreases at 18.

  • Social changes: At 18, late teens typically graduate high school and may no longer have the time, opportunity or learning environment to study a second language.
  • Interference: The rules of a first language may interfere with the ability to learn a second language.
  • Continuing brain development: Changes in the brain that continue during the late teens and early 20s may make learning harder.

Learning a new language

There are many examples of people who pick up a language later in life. Our ability to learn new vocabulary appears to remain constant, but most of us will not be able to master grammar like a native speaker.

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Cut all the contact

Keep your distance and don’t text, email, meet in person or call.

Cutting the ties for good when it’s over puts you on a faster path to healing.

  • Set up an “Emergency ...
Let Your Emotions Out

Cry, sob your eyes out, scream and yell. As long as it doesn’t hurt yourself or anybody else, find ways to release and let go of the pain you may be feeling. 

Listen to sad songs. Listening to sad songs can regulate negative emotion and mood as well as consolation. 
Accept the fact that it’s over

Coping with the end of a relationship is a little bit like a 12 step program. You will reach acceptance far sooner by staying away from that person.

Don’t over-analyze what could have been different. Your mission now is to get to the place where you aren’t battling with yourself about the way things are. Do this with compassion and don’t beat yourself up.

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The problem with "No worries"
When you use “No worries” or “No problem” the phrase can actually have the opposite effect: just saying the word “problem” introduces the possibility that the situation wasn...
The problem with “Anyone could do it”

A self-deprecating language that minimizes your expertise can backfire, depending on who hears it.

You need to stop giving your power away.

Speaking like a boss

It means becoming multilingual by balancing the languages used among your team with the languages that the people above you grading your performance understand.

One solution to correct any potential wrong assumptions is to over-communicate about what you meant.

Communication

A critical task of a leader is communication. It is better to err on the side of communicating more frequently than under-communicating because leaders thought everyone knows what is expected of th...

Positive and Optimistic

The voice of leadership, while not ignoring genuine threats, should sound positive and optimistic, believing you will succeed despite obstacles.

A cause is only lost when you believe it is, and even then, only when you give up. The task of leadership is to persevere until you achieve your goal, regardless of the difficulty. Communicate your optimism and transmit those beliefs to your team.

Unafraid

Fear causes people to freeze, take flight, or fight. It's not that leaders aren't afraid, but that they fear the greater danger of doing nothing.

Leaders speak to the real danger, that of leaving the threat unaddressed and unopposed. Courage means taking action and confronting the challenge directly, giving others the courage to do the same.

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Our brain while listening to words
Our brain while listening to words

Our brain uses two separate areas to identify the mood and the real meaning of the words. Words are passed to the left temporal lobe of the brain...

Words only count 7% Myth

The myth purports that we use 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% actual words.

The research of Professor Mehrabian had nothing to do with speech, but to guess emotion based on the recordings of a single word. 

Actual words "must dominate by a wide margin", argues famous author Philip Yaffe.

Facial expression in speech

Smiling is one of the most powerful elements when thinking about speech.

The smiley face is rated with the highest positive emotional content. The painting of the Mona Lisa with her contented smiled is one such example.  

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