Many people have a habit of asking questions or making comments to themselves out loud. Psychologists agree that engaging in self-directed speech is a positive habit. Dr. Aggrey Irons, psychologist and president of Jamaica's Medical Association, states that this type of speech occurs for two reasons: giving oneself feedback or thinking out loud.
Studies have shown that talking to oneself helps to control and manage thoughts. Self-directed speech also helps to maintain focus and improves problem-solving skills. Psychologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted an experiment that showed people found objects quicker by talking to themselves about the object while searching.
Self-directed speech is simply a mechanism for vocalizing internal thoughts. Some people use it to criticize and chastise themselves by vocalizing negative thoughts. Psychologists advise that speech should be positive. It may be helpful to talk to oneself out loud when setting goals, making decisions or for self-motivation. Self-directed speech is also a great method to combat feelings of loneliness.
Though speaking to oneself is a normal, healthy habit, it may be a sign of mental disorder for some. If a person responds to voices in their head, known as an auditory hallucination, professional help may be necessary. Hearing internal voices is usually a sign of a mental disorder, such as schizophrenia.