Do soliloquies help you control yourself?
Some people talk to themselves in stressful situations. Do such soliloirs have positive effects or are they more an expression of psychological problems? Researchers have now found that talking to themselves in third person helps people control their emotions.
The researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan found that third-person talks help people control themselves and help them better control their own emotions. In a press release from the university, the researchers report on the results of their study.
How do soliloquies work in the third person?
Talking to yourself in third person can be a relatively effortless form of self-control, the experts explain. For example, if a man by the name of John is very upset and aroused, reflecting on his feelings in the third person (why is John excited?) Can help control emotions more effectively than if the same person is reflecting on the first person (why am I'm excited?)
Identified effect helps regulate emotions
It's better to talk to yourself in the third person to control your emotions. According to the researchers, this process leads to a change in thinking. This type of conversation causes people to think about themselves in a way that they would think about other people. Evidence of this effect can be found in the human brain, explains Professor Jason Moser from Michigan State University. Talking like this can help people get some psychological distance from their experiences. This effect can be very useful for regulating emotions, the expert further explains.
Talking to yourself in a third person reduces emotional brain activity
The current investigation involved two different experiments. In one experiment, the participants looked at neutral and disturbing images. The subjects responded to the pictures with self-talk in the first person as well as in the third person, the researchers explain. Brain activity was monitored throughout the time by an electroencephalograph. When responding to the disturbing images (for example, a man holding a pistol to his head), the participants' emotional brain activity decreased within a second when they spoke to themselves in the third person.
Soliloquy: a strategy to regulate emotions?
The physicians also found that using the third person in self-talk to the brain was no more expensive than when the self-talk was conducted in the first person. Talking to yourself in third person can be used as a strategy to regulate your emotions, says Professor Moser.
Subjects had to reflect on painful memories from the past
The second experiment looked at the effect of participants reflecting on painful memories of their past through self-talk. These soliloquies were conducted both in the first person and in the third person. The brain activity of the test subjects was measured during the study, the scientists say.
More research is needed
Participants showed less activity in a region of the brain that is involved in reflecting painful emotional experiences when talking to themselves in the third person. This indicates better emotional regulation, the experts explain. In addition, the self-talk in the third person did not take up more brain capacity than the self-talk in the first person. The data from these two complementary experiments indicate that self-talk in the third person is a relatively effortless form of emotion regulation. However, more research is needed to better understand the effect. (as)