Many people have very vivid experiences of ‘hearing’ characters’ voices when they are reading novels or other texts and this seems to lead them to have more intense reading experiences (Alderson-Day, Bernini, & Fernyhough, 2017). This ability seems to be associated with having an ‘inner voice’ or inner dialogue, which is a cognitive process that is linked to memory, planning, and executive function (Alderson-Day, Mitrenga, Wilkinson, McCarthy-Jones, & Fernyhough, 2018). It is also linked with the ability to think about someone else’s mental states (their beliefs, emotions, desires etc.) which is a requirement for successful social interactions. Despite all of this, there is limited research exploring children’s and adolescent’s experiences of hearing an internal dialogue, especially when reading.
This PhD research topic will expand upon a strand of Dr Gill Waters’ existing research to focus on children’s and adolescent’s abilities to hear their inner voice and hear the voices of characters that they’re reading about. The links with reading preferences, communication, and social interaction will be studied along with investigating associations with literacy. New knowledge will be generate to expand the existing knowledge base and devise impactful ways of increasing children’s and adolescent’s abilities. Interventions will be developed with the aim of enhancing literacy and encouraging engagement and enthusiasm for reading; and increasing associated social and cognitive processes. The outcomes will inform educationalists and literacy experts, and lay the foundations for larger scale future research in this area.