Types of Inner Dialogues and Functions of Self-Talk: Comparisons and Implications

Intrapersonal communication occurs in several modes including inner dialogue and self-talk. The Dialogical Self Theory (Hermans, 1996) postulates a polyphonic self that is comprised of a multiplicity of inner voices. Internal dialogical activity implies an exchange of thoughts or ideas between at least two so-called “I-positions” representing specific points of view. Among the functions served by self-talk are self-criticism, self-reinforcement, self-management, and social assessment (Brinthaupt et al., 2009 ). This paper explores the relationships among different types of internal dialogues and self-talk functions. Participants included college students from Poland (n  = 181) and the United States (n  = 119) who completed two multidimensional measures of inner dialogue and self-talk. Results indicated moderately strong relationships between inner dialogue types and self-talk functions, suggesting that there is a significant overlap between the two modes of communication. We discuss several implications of these findings for exploring similarities and differences among varieties of intrapersonal communication.
内的コミュニケーションは、内なる対話セルフトークなど、いくつかの様式で行われる。対話的自己理論(Hermans, 1996)は、複数の内なる声からなる多声的自己を仮定している。内的対話の活動は、特定の視点を表す少なくとも2つのいわゆる「I-positions」の間での思考やアイデアの交換を意味する。セルフトークが果たす機能には、自己批判、自己強化、自己管理、社会的評価などがある(Brinthaupt et al.、2009)。本論文では、さまざまなタイプの内的対話とセルフトーク機能の関係を探った。参加者は、ポーランド(n = 181)と米国(n = 119)の大学生で、内的対話とセルフトークの2つの多次元測定に取り組みました。その結果、内面的な対話のタイプとセルフトーク機能の間には中程度の強い関係があり、この2つのコミュニケーション様式には有意な重複があることが示唆された。この結果は、内的コミュニケーションの多様性の類似点と相違点を探る上で、いくつかの示唆を与えている。


Intrapersonal communication occurs in several modes and includes research on a wide range of processes and behavioral domains (see this Research Topic). Two such modes are self-talk and internal dialogue. With respect to self-talk, psychologists originally described inner and private speech in the context of developmental processes including the affinity between speaking and thinking (Vygotsky, 1962). Although inner dialogues had long been recognized by philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine, and by writers, poets, and other thinkers, formal psychological theorizing about such phenomena was only recently introduced at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century (Hermans and Kempen, 1993Markova, 2005).
個人内コミュニケーションにはいくつかの形態があり、幅広いプロセスや行動領域に関する研究が行われている(本リサーチトピック参照)。そのようなモードとして、セルフトークと内的対話がある。セルフトークに関しては、心理学者はもともと話すことと考えることの親和性を含む発達過程の文脈で内的・私的発話を記述していた(Vygotsky, 1962)。内的対話はThomas AquinasやSaint Augustineなどの哲学者や作家、詩人などの思想家によって長い間認識されていたが、そのような現象に関する正式な心理学的理論化は20世紀末から21世紀初頭にかけて導入されたばかりである(Hermans and Kempen, 1993; Markova, 2005)。
The possible relationship and mixing of these two phenomena occurs within theory and empirical research. For example, according to Kross et al. (2014), “Self-talk is a ubiquitous human phenomenon. We all have an internal monologue that we engage in from time to time” (p. 321). How people engage in internal monologues (or dialogues) and self-talk is likely to vary. For example, people might instruct themselves to “Try again” or relax themselves by saying “Don’t worry.” In a different context, one might ask oneself “What can I do?” or “Are my talents and knowledge enough to argue in a coming debate?”
この2つの現象の関係や混在の可能性は、理論や実証研究の中でも発生している。例えば、Krossら(2014)によれば、「セルフトークは人間の偏在的な現象である。私たちは皆、内的独白を時々行っている」(p.321)。内的モノローグ(またはダイアログ)やセルフトークにどのように関わるかは、人によって異なると思われます。例えば、人は自分に "もう一度やってみよう "と指示するかもしれないし、"心配しないで "と言って自分をリラックスさせるかもしれない。また別の文脈では、"私に何ができるのか?"、"私の才能や知識は、これから行われる討論で主張するのに十分なのか?"と自分に問いかけるかもしれない。
These examples of self-talk can also involve dialogic features. From the perspective of Dialogical Self Theory (Hermans, 1996Hermans and Gieser, 2012), people can take at least two points of view or “I-positions” within their intrapersonal communication. We might discuss in our minds multiple options, like a fiddler on a roof: “on the one hand …, but on the other hand …” Such dialogues can show even greater complexity and detail. For example, a man might imagine how a request for a divorce will affect his spouse, how she would likely respond to that request, whether he should reconsider based on her likely response, etc. This kind of inner dialogue involves posing questions on behalf of the imagined partner and giving answers.
これらのセルフトークの例には、対話的な特徴も含まれうる。対話的自己理論(Hermans, 1996; Hermans and Gieser, 2012)の観点からは、人は対人コミュニケーションの中で少なくとも2つの視点、つまり「I-position」を取ることができる。屋根の上のバイオリン弾きのように、複数の選択肢を頭の中で議論するかもしれない。「一方では......,他方では......".このような対話は、さらに複雑で詳細な内容を示すことがある。例えば、ある男性が、離婚を要求したら配偶者にどのような影響を与えるか、その要求に対して配偶者はどのような反応を示すか、その反応を見て自分は考え直すべきか、などを想像するかもしれない。このような内なる対話は、想像した相手に代わって質問を投げかけ、答えを出すというものです。
As the previous example suggests, an inner monologue can easily evolve into an internal dialogue between two subjects inside one’s mind—between different parts of oneself or between oneself and the imagined partner. In other words, there may be qualitative and quantitative differences in the nature of self-talk and internal dialogues. Self-talk appears to involve basic self-regulatory functions like self-control or self-direction (“Try again”), whereas internal dialogues involve more extended communicative functions (“When I say X, she will answer Y”). In the present study, we aimed to explore the degree of overlap between these two forms of intrapersonal communication.
For our purposes, self-talk can be defined as “self-directed or self-referent speech (either silent or aloud) that serves a variety of self-regulatory and other functions” (Brinthaupt, 2019, para. 7). Internal dialogical activity is defined as “engagement in dialogues with imagined figures, the simulation of social dialogical relationships in one’s own thoughts, and the mutual confrontation of the points of view representing different I-positions relevant to personal and/or social identity” (Oleś and Puchalska-Wasyl, 2012, p. 242).
我々の目的のために、セルフトークは「様々な自己調節機能などを果たす自己指示的または自己言及的な発話(無言または音読)」(Brinthaupt, 2019, para.7)と定義することができる。内的対話活動は、「想像上の人物との対話への関与、自分の思考における社会的対話関係のシミュレーション、個人および/または社会的アイデンティティに関連する異なるI-positionを表す視点の相互対峙」と定義されている(Oleś and Puchalska-Wasyl, 2012, p.242)。
Inner Dialogueが必ずしも発展的・本質的というわけではなく、「想像上の人物」をどう設定するかや自己の思考の傾向を客体化しているかどうかが鍵になりそう。 コーチングが果たすことのできる役割の一つは固定化されたI-positionを揺らし、内的対話そのものを多様で可変的なものとなるよう後押ししていくこと。
Most definitions of self-talk and inner speech assume that, in this form of intrapersonal communication, both sender and recipient represent the same person (e.g., Fernyhough, 2016). In contrast, inner dialogical activity does not imply that. Inner dialogues refer to various forms of intrapersonal communication where different voices can represent not only the self but also close persons, imagined friends, lost relatives and spouses, teachers and mentors, media stars, voices of culture, and others (Hermans, 1996). Self-talk can be just a single word, comment, or command without any answer or an extended “conversation,” while mutual exchange of expressions is an essence of the internal dialogue.
Whereas everyday self-regulation is an important feature of self-talk (Brinthaupt et al., 2009), internal dialogical activity emphasizes confrontation or integration of different points of view as a way to help a person understand new or strange experiences. In other words, self-talk seems to occur in reaction to or anticipation of specific events or circumstances, whereas inner dialogue appears to involve more reflective or contemplative kinds of intrapersonal communication. Furthermore, inner dialogues frequently involve a person’s identity (e.g., Bhatia, 2002Batory, 2010), whereas self-talk seems to apply to identity questions only indirectly.
In this paper, we first describe theoretical and research conceptions of self-talk and inner dialogical activity. We then propose possible relationships between these two forms of intrapersonal communication. Next, we report the results of a study that compares total and subscale scores of these constructs. The nature of the relationship between inner dialogues and self-talk has important implications for the phenomenon of intrapersonal communication. We discuss some of these implications in the conclusion of the paper.