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?