Talking aloud while solving problems

  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. jbunniii

    jbunniii 3,378
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    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. I think it does help, specially when you talk like the famous profs on youtube and make everything sound obvious. Ha.
     
  5. HallsofIvy

    HallsofIvy 40,808
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Of course, it might annoy other people in the class!
     
  6. NascentOxygen

    Staff: Mentor

    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. lisab

    Staff: Mentor

    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. 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. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    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. 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. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    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. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

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