By: The University Paper of Unipaper
Silently talking to yourself in the third person during times of stress could help to control your emotions without any additional mental effort compared to first-person self-talk, a study has found.
In their study Third-person self-talk facilitates emotion regulation without engaging cognitive control: Converging evidence from ERP and fMRI., researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan performed experiments on participants while monitoring their brain activity with an electroecephalograph.
Jason Moser, MSU associate professor of psychology, said: ‘Essentially, we think referring to yourself in the third person leads people to think about themselves more similar to how they think about others, and you can see evidence for this in the brain.
‘That helps people gain a tiny bit of psychological distance from their experiences, which can often be useful for regulating emotions.’
In one of the experiments, participants were shown neutral and disturbing images and reacted to them in the first person, and the third person, while their brain activity was monitored with an EEG. When they were shown disturbing photos, like a man holding a gun to his head, the team found that participants’ emotional brain activity decreased within one second when they referred to themselves in the third person.