The activity view of inner speech
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Inner speechFormat viewActivity viewConsciousnessUsymbolized thinkingPhonological representationAction prediction
Martínez-Manrique, F.; Vicente, A. The activity view of inner speech. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 232 (2015). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/35511]
PatrocinadorResearch for this paper was funded by the Spanish Government through Research Projects FFI2011-30074-C01 &C02.
We distinguish two general approaches to inner speech (IS)—the “format” and the “activity” views—and defend the activity view. The format view grounds the utility of IS on features of the representational format of language, and is related to the thesis that the proper function of IS is to make conscious thinking possible. IS appears typically as a product constituted by representations of phonological features. The view also has implications for the idea that passivity phenomena in cognition may be misattributed IS. The activity view sees IS as a speaking activity that does not have a proper function in cognition. It simply inherits the array of functions of outer speech. We argue that it is methodologically advisable to start from this variety of uses, which suggests commonalities between internal and external activities. The format view has several problems; it has to deny “unsymbolized thinking”; it cannot easily explain how IS makes thoughts available to consciousness, and it cannot explain those uses of IS where its format features apparently play no role. The activity view not only lacks these problems but also has explanatory advantages: construing IS as an activity allows it to be integrally constituted by its content; the view is able to construe unsymbolized thinking as part of a continuum of phenomena that exploit the same mechanisms, and it offers a simple explanation for the variety of uses of IS.