We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Department of Psychology


Publication details for Professor Charles Fernyhough

Lidstone, J. S. M., Meins, E. & Fernyhough, C. (2010). The roles of private speech and inner speech in planning during middle childhood: Evidence from a dual task paradigm. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 107(4): 438-451

Author(s) from Durham


Children often talk themselves through their activities, producing private speech that is internalized to form inner speech. This study assessed the effect of articulatory suppression (which suppresses private and inner speech) on Tower of London performance in 7- to 10-year-olds, relative to performance in a control condition with a nonverbal secondary task. Experiment 1 showed no effect of articulatory suppression on performance with the standard Tower of London procedure; we interpret this in terms of a lack of planning in our sample. Experiment 2 used a modified procedure in which participants were forced to plan ahead. Performance in the articulatory suppression condition was lower than that in the control condition, consistent with a role for self-directed (private and inner) speech in planning. On problems of intermediate difficulty, participants producing more private speech in the control condition showed greater susceptibility to interference from articulatory suppression than their peers, suggesting that articulatory suppression interfered with performance by blocking self-directed (private and inner) speech.