A self-regulation model of inner speech and its role in the organisation of human conscious experience

Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (7):59-71 (2007)
This paper argues for the importance of inner speech in a proper understanding of the structure of human conscious experience. It reviews one recent attempt to build a model of inner speech based on a grammaticization model (Steels, 2003) and compares it with a self-regulation model here proposed. This latter model is located within the broader literature on the role of language in cognition and the inner voice in consciousness. I argue that this role is not limited to checking the grammatical correctness of prospective utterances before they are spoken. Rather, it is a more broadly activity-structuring role, regulating and shaping the ongoing shape of human activity in the world. Through linking inner speech to the control of attention, I argue that the study of the functional role of inner speech should be a central area of analysis in our attempt to understand the development and qualitative character of human consciousness and that modelling can play a central role in that understanding.
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