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Talking aloud while solving problems

  1. Aug 8, 2014 #1
    I'm curious if talking aloud while doing math helps.

    I know from experience that it helps with arithmetic and some calculations.

    I've tried talking while doing more advanced math, and I'm not sure if I am doing better because I'm talking or because I'm writing at a slower pace, and not my usual speed (I can solve some problems faster than I can speak at times).

    I am very right-handed, so I would think I'm left brain dominant. Then again, it's pop-psychology, so who knows?

    Any thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2014 #2


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    Yes, I have found this to be the case. If I am trying to do some manipulation (arithmetic or algebra) in my head, it seems to help somewhat. I still make sign errors with about 50% probability. :cry:

    I don't find it to help for higher level math. Getting rid of background noise helps, though. And classical music if there's no vocalist.
  4. Aug 9, 2014 #3
    I think it does help, specially when you talk like the famous profs on youtube and make everything sound obvious. Ha.
  5. Aug 9, 2014 #4


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    Of course, it might annoy other people in the class!
  6. Aug 10, 2014 #5


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    It can help weaker students in the room attempting the same examination paper, that's why you are forbidden from talking. :smile:

    But in a suitable setting, I'm sure it does help you. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  7. Aug 10, 2014 #6


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    Interesting that talking helps you do problems faster! When I got to higher math and physics, I had to learn how to turn off the "talking voice" in my head. I needed to think faster than speech.

    A downside of learning how to do this was when I would have to verbally explain the "path" I took to solve the problem - that became difficult.
  8. Aug 11, 2014 #7
    I've always hard a hard time explaining difficulties/questions verbally. I'm not very concise, and I think I come off as a caveman. I'd like to build up my descriptive math vocabulary.
  9. Aug 11, 2014 #8


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    I find talking through many problems out loud helps. Sometimes if I'm really stuck on something I pretend I'm explaining the problem to someone which can prompt new ideas and things to try.
  10. Aug 11, 2014 #9
    Sometimes I do that too - it can help me when I'm stuck :smile:. And I try to do it when there's no one hearing me. Don't want anyone to call an ambulance...
  11. Aug 11, 2014 #10


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    Lol, if they did at least there would be more people to explain the problem too :tongue: I think this method works (at least for me) because it's easy to overlook things. I might be confident that a certain part of the problem has been solved or is of no consequence and whenever I run through options in my head it is skipped over in a flash. By having to explain it in words it means I have to articulate every aspect (which takes time and thought) then speak them aloud (which is slow compared to thinking) which can force a re-examination of certain conclusions.
  12. Aug 11, 2014 #11


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    I would talk, or hum, while doing a problem. If I was in the library, I'd have to whisper.
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