Volume 12, Issue 2 e1544

Inner speech

Peter Langland-Hassan

Corresponding Author

Peter Langland-Hassan

Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA


Peter Langland-Hassan, Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, OH 45221.

Email: [email protected]

Contribution: Conceptualization, Data curation, ​Investigation, Methodology, Writing - original draft, Writing - review & editing

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First published: 18 September 2020
Citations: 14


Inner speech travels under many aliases: the inner voice, verbal thought, thinking in words, internal verbalization, “talking in your head,” the “little voice in the head,” and so on. It is both a familiar element of first-person experience and a psychological phenomenon whose complex cognitive components and distributed neural bases are increasingly well understood. There is evidence that inner speech plays a variety of cognitive roles, from enabling abstract thought, to supporting metacognition, memory, and executive function. One active area of controversy concerns the relation of inner speech to auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) in schizophrenia, with a common proposal being that sufferers of AVH misidentify their own inner speech as being generated by someone else. Recently, researchers have used artificial intelligence to translate the neural and neuromuscular signatures of inner speech into corresponding outer speech signals, laying the groundwork for a variety of new applications and interventions.

This article is categorized under:

  • Philosophy > Foundations of Cognitive Science
  • Linguistics > Language in Mind and Brain
  • Philosophy > Consciousness
  • Philosophy > Psychological Capacities


The author has declared no conflicts of interest for this article.