Language and self-awareness

In my 2003 SCR paper “Inner speech and conscious experience” (LINK) I put forward the notion that we most often need to talk to ourselves in order to understand who we are. That is, inner speech is frequently required to access self-information and to gradually build a self- concept. To illustrate, let’s imagine that you want to reflect on an abdominal pain you are currently experiencing. It is very likely that you will engage in an internal monologue, thinking “Why is it that my belly hurts? I feel cramps... Ha! I get it—I skipped breakfast...” You could go on and also notice: “I’ve been missing breakfast often lately... I tend to sleep in, I don’t eat breakfast, and by noon I’m starving... And I didn’t go to the gym as often as I should have... This is bad—I’m getting _lazy_...” Here the adjective “lazy” constitutes the conclusion that you have drawn from your inner monologue; it may then become a more or less permanent part of your self-concept
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