Need to find something? Try talking to yourself.
That's the finding of a University of Pennsylvania study completed by Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swingley and published in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology .
ScienceDaily reported that the two psychologists showed participants 20 pictures of objects and asked them to find one. In one trial they saw a label telling them what to find. In another they searched while saying the word to themselves.
Those speaking to themselves completed the task faster.
Another dealt with a "virtual shopping task" in which they looked at photos of items such as Pop-Tarts, Tylenol and Raisin Bran often found on supermarket shelves and were asked to find all instances of each item.
They had to search through "distractors," such as other sodas sitting on the same shelf as the brand they were supposed to find.
The UK Daily Mail stated that the study showed that saying a word helps the mind focus better than seeing a written description. In other words, it helps people stay on task better.
The catch, according to the study, is saying the word helped the most in finding familiar items. Speaking the name for less familiar items had a more negative effect.
ScienceDaily reported that previous studies showed children can remember tasks such as how to tie their shoelaces better if they talk themselves through the task.