performing ourselves to ourselves
In the Wednesday section this week, Sarp proposed an interesting question in light of some of this week's topics: Where's the communication (from whom to whom) when we talk to ourselves?
Goffman has addressed this. He suggests that talking to ourselves reflects badly within the performative context of his communication analysis. In fact, no form of talk is as embarrassing for us as showing that we are not properly engaged with a conversant partner. "Extended self-talk," he says, "if discovered, reflects badly on the talker." Thus, the astonished reaction Sarp described upon finding his mother running down her to-do list aloud.
Recent science, however, has had better things to say about self-talk. In a study published in 2012 (and one of those pieces that seems to resurface in my social-media feed every few months), researchers found that "self-directed speech" increased a subject's visual processing. Psychologists, too, claim that talking to yourself "helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you’re contemplating." Almost a century ago, sociologist George H. Mead — a scholar you will definitely encounter in later communication studies — outlined how this self (the "personhood" we were discussing in relation to Goffman) takes form, largely through social interaction (a la Goffman). But Mead, too, did not discount the importance of the "I" conversing with the "me" in contributing to the ongoing process of self formation.
And keep in mind: Einstein talked to himself.
Participation! Do you talk to yourself? Most of us do. Think about when this occurs, though (and when we consciously hide it). In light of our discussion about Goffman's interactive process of self-formation, how do you think talking to ourselves contributes to our selves? An extra thought: is there anything in Lakoff's argument about the politics of communication that factors into conversations with ourselves?
1/14/2016 10:24:10 pm
I feel that in talking to ourselves, we're also able to assess ourselves and see a better/different perspective of how we may be conveying ourselves to others, which, in turn, helps us better shape the way we present ourselves for any future encounters with other people.
1/14/2016 10:55:14 pm
1/18/2016 12:11:21 pm
I definitely talk to myself. For example, when I'm planning my day or when I'm trying to remember something. I feel we need to talk to ourselves because we are able to assess what we say out loud to others and what should be kept to ourselves. Relating to Lakoff, I think when we're talking to ourselves, some thoughts are more powerful than others. Those more powerful thoughts are said out loud.
2/19/2016 11:36:03 am
Your use of the word "assess" is key here. Talking out loud is useful to the thought process in similar ways to the act of writing. There are many professors in our comm department who study this very thing: that the cognitive process is not isolated to the brain, to an internal action. That is, numerous embodied actions facilitate thinking; see Morana Alac's book 'Handling Digital Brains,' in which she reveals the necessity of using hands, arms, etc. to aid in visualizing something and thinking through problems. A quotation from E.M. Forster I used to say to students in writing courses: "How do I know what I think until I see what I say?" That is, the *physical* act of writing something down is a crucial step in rehearsing and then possibly cementing our thoughts!
1/19/2016 10:36:44 pm
I feel that Goffman did not like talking to oneself because it did not further the characterization of the self, and rather put the subject in a loop. As for "figuring things out", and concreting ideas, I feel that talking to oneself becomes more of a grounding activity, as there's only so many subjects one can talk aloud about; which is in contrast to the multitudes of thoughts that can be running around in one's mind. "Speaking facilitated search, particularly when there was a strong association between the name and the visual target. As the discrepancy between the name and the target increased, speaking began to impair performance.", is from the abstract of the suggested article. It's interesting to see that speaking to oneself does have its limits. I couldn't access the article due to a rather love/hate relationship with the UCSD proxy, but I believe that the discrepancy that is suggested illustrates the limitations of the capabilities of finding answers through oneself. As for Einstein, this could be a special case, as the article objects to Einstein having any disability, with his strange behaviors, but no concrete evidence can prove this true or not.
1/29/2016 09:59:55 pm
Sometimes, I talk to myself when I am trying to gain clarity on my role in a process that will occur in the near future or when I evaluate a past action. Talking to ourselves doesn't necessarily help us gain a deeper understanding of who we are, I think it contributes more significantly towards an evaluation of our actions and how we wish to better approach them. I feel that it also acts as a mechanism of assurance. In film and TV, characters are often presented talking to themselves when they experience fear or doubt ("I can do this!") and the presence of these instances in real life illustrate that talking to ourselves could contribute to our own self-confidence and composure.
2/19/2016 11:31:52 am
Indeed, in film and TV having a character speak out loud is a useful narrative tool, given that the media cannot (thus far!) represent internal thoughts.
2/18/2016 04:48:12 pm
I talk to myself. Sometimes I do this to re-think about a conversation with others when I believe I did a good job in the conversations, and in this situation I will hide it, as said. Most time I talk to myself as an assuarance when I'm down or distressed. It's like people who have beliefs( including myself) are tend to put their right hands at hearts or use some other gestural forms to console themselves. In this case, talking a few sentences to myself assures me and make me feel safe and encouraged again.
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