Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preschool Kids Do Better When They Talk To Themselves, Research Shows

Date:
March 29, 2008
Source:
George Mason University
Summary:
Parents should not worry when their pre-schoolers talk to themselves; in fact, they should encourage it, says a new study. The study shows that children do better on motor tasks when they talk to themselves out loud than when they are silent. Researchers also looked for the first time at the ways that autistic children talk to themselves and the effectiveness it has on the way they do things.

Parents should not worry when their pre-schoolers talk to themselves; in fact, they should encourage it, says Adam Winsler, an associate professor of psychology at George Mason University. His recent study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly showed that 5-year-olds do better on motor tasks when they talk to themselves out loud (either spontaneously or when told to do so by an adult) than when they are silent.

"Young children often talk to themselves as they go about their daily activities, and parents and teachers shouldn’t think of this as weird or bad," says Winsler. "On the contrary, they should listen to the private speech of kids. It's a fantastic window into the minds of children."

In the study, "'Should I let them talk?': Private speech and task performance among preschool children with and without behavior problems," 78 percent of the children performed either the same or better on the performance task when speaking to themselves than when they were silent.

The study also showed that children with behavioral problems (such as those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD) tend to talk to themselves more often than children without signs of behavior problems.

"Given that kids with behavior concerns need more direction and control from adults, teachers may unnecessarily ask children to be quiet in classrooms out of fear that such speech coming from difficult-to-manage kids will lead to problem behavior," says Winsler. "Yet non-disruptive private speech would actually help these children as they develop. Therefore, teacher training and professional development efforts should suggest that teachers increase their tolerance level for this kind of private speech."

Winsler says that private speech is very common and perfectly normal among children between the ages of 2 and 5. As children begin talking to themselves, their communication skills with the outside world improve.

"This is when language comes inside," says Winsler. "As these two communication processes merge, children use private speech in the transition period. It's a critical period for children, and defines us as human beings."

Winsler also conducted the first-ever study looking at private speech in children with autism. He found that high-functioning autistic children talk to themselves often and in the same ways that non-autistic children do. Talking aloud also improved their performance on tasks.

"Children with autism have problems with their external social speech, so psychologists assumed that their private speech would also be impaired," says Winsler. "But this study shows that it is not the case—that autistic children use their private speech very effectively as a tool to help them with tasks."

The study, "Private Speech and Executive Functioning among High-Functioning Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders," was just published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by George Mason University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

George Mason University. "Preschool Kids Do Better When They Talk To Themselves, Research Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328124554.htm>.
George Mason University. (2008, March 29). Preschool Kids Do Better When They Talk To Themselves, Research Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328124554.htm
George Mason University. "Preschool Kids Do Better When They Talk To Themselves, Research Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328124554.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins