The emotional consequences of hearing inner speech during silent reading of direct speech quotations

  • Hongrui Lin

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


Recently, research has shown that people produce inner speech – a mental simulation of overt speech – in silent reading of, especially, direct speech quotations. Among those studies, some have reported neural overlaps (activations of the right temporal voice areas) between inner speech and emotional prosody, suggesting that inner speech may have emotional consequences. This project explores this possibility by assessing individuals’ performance on emotional judgements during silent reading. Participants were asked to judge categories of emotions (to choose one out of six facial expressions or six emotion words) for the reported speakers in the first experiments, while the latter three experiments indicated readers to judge the intensity of emotions by giving emotional arousal ratings. The results demonstrated that readers were faster to make emotional judgements when reading quotations in direct speech than in indirect speech. This ‘quantitative’ effect supports the hypothesis that hearing inner speech in direct speech conditions helps readers to access the reported speakers’ emotional states. However, the findings of the ‘qualitative’ effects captured by making more appropriate emotional judgements were mixed, suggesting the effects may be more complex than increasing the intensity of emotional activations. Several limitations, such as the experimental setup, were discussed. Future studies are suggested to confirm that the advantage of response time in direct speech conditions is due to inner speech and explore the ‘qualitative’ effects on emotional judgements of hearing it.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBo Yao (Supervisor) & Jason Taylor (Supervisor)

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