Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Lev S. Vygotsky on Self-Talk - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton I 76
Self-talk/Vygotsky/Upton: Vygotsky (1930/1978)(1) identified self-talk as a critical part of the child internalising previously external social speech. In early childhood, especially between the ages of three and four, children often talk out loud to themselves. Over time this self-talk seems to disappear. >Self-talk/Piaget.
Piaget (1923)(2) called self-tak egocentric speech and suggested that it reflects some of the limitations of young children’s cognitive skills, which we discuss in the next section.
VygotskyVsPiaget: In contrast, Vygotsky argued that all speech, including self-talk, is ‘social’ and therefore self-talk did not disappear – it simply becomes internalised. He argued that to believe that self-talk disappears would be like believing that children stop counting when they stop using their fingers to do so. Vygotsky alleged that, even when internalised, self-talk continues to guide a child’s actions. This idea is given some support by the way in which the conscious use of self-talk intensifies when children are presented with tasks of increasing difficulty.



Vygotsky, L.S. (1930/1978) Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
2. Piaget, J. (1923) Language and Thought of the Child. London: Routledge.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Vygotsky I
L. S. Vygotsky
Thought and Language Cambridge, MA 1986

Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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