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The brain’s conversation with itself: neural substrates of dialogic inner speech

Alderson-Day, B.; Weis, S.; McCarthy-Jones, S.; Moseley, P.; Smailes, D.; Fernyhough, C.

The brain’s conversation with itself: neural substrates of dialogic inner speech Thumbnail


S. Weis

S. McCarthy-Jones

P. Moseley

D. Smailes


Inner speech has been implicated in important aspects of normal and atypical cognition, including the development of auditory hallucinations. Studies to date have focused on covert speech elicited by simple word or sentence repetition, while ignoring richer and arguably more psychologically significant varieties of inner speech. This study compared neural activation for inner speech involving conversations (‘dialogic inner speech’) with single-speaker scenarios (‘monologic inner speech’). Inner speech-related activation differences were then compared with activations relating to Theory-of-Mind (ToM) reasoning and visual perspective-taking in a conjunction design. Generation of dialogic (compared with monologic) scenarios was associated with a widespread bilateral network including left and right superior temporal gyri, precuneus, posterior cingulate and left inferior and medial frontal gyri. Activation associated with dialogic scenarios and ToM reasoning overlapped in areas of right posterior temporal cortex previously linked to mental state representation. Implications for understanding verbal cognition in typical and atypical populations are discussed.


Alderson-Day, B., Weis, S., McCarthy-Jones, S., Moseley, P., Smailes, D., & Fernyhough, C. (2016). The brain’s conversation with itself: neural substrates of dialogic inner speech. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(1), 110-120.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2015
Online Publication Date Jul 20, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 17, 2015
Publicly Available Date Aug 20, 2015
Journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Print ISSN 1749-5016
Electronic ISSN 1749-5024
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 110-120
Keywords Monologue, Dialogue, fMRI, Auditory verbal hallucinations, Covert speech.


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (298 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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