8 Working Memory: Private Speech and Other Performatory Vehicles of Thought

Language and inner speech are central to our commonsense ideas about consciousness. And in current cognitive theory, working memory often plays a central role as a system that maintains information--often in linguistic form--so that it can be used to accomplish cognitive tasks. Limits on working memory are thus a major constraint on the coordinative modes that we can adopt in performing mental routines. In this chapter, I examine these topics from the vantage point of the experienced cognition framework.

Most individuals would agree that their conscious experience very often includes a kind of internal monologue, and the ability to report experience in verbal form is often taken as a mark of its conscious status (e.g., Nisbett & Wilson, 1977). It seems that language has a special status with respect to consciousness, and many cognitive scientists have argued that language ability is supported by specialized cognitive modules. The supposed specialness and at least partially innate character, of language is almost a dogma of linguistics and psycholinguistics, although some cognitive theorists (e.g., J. R. Anderson, 1983; Newell, 1990) have argued that language can be understood in the same theoretical terms used to describe cognition generally. Some theorists (e.g., Whorf, 1956) have argued that language strongly shapes thought. Most cognitive scientists do not support a strong version of this linguistic relativity hypothesis ( Scholnick & Hall, 1991). However, it is clear that language (or "verbal coding") accompanies much cognitive activity, and Hunt and Agnoli ( 1991) summarized the evidence that language does shape thinking in some respects. It thus seems clear that private speech is one important medium of cognitive activity.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Experienced Cognition


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 358

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?