Self-directed speech – the audible or partially whispered self-talk that children engage in during their daily activities, was proposed by Vygotsky to have a mediating role in the emerging self-regulatory behaviour of young children. Studies with correlational findings tend to lend support to this hypothesis but fail to delineate the real-time temporal interactions between self-directed speech and self-regulatory behaviour. The authors propose the use of lag sequential analysis and t-pattern analysis as useful and complementary methods for detecting significantly recurring patterns of co-occurrence of self-directed speech and non-verbal behaviour (that is either self-regulatory or shows a failure of self-regulation). Furthermore, it is argued that the analysis of these co-occurrences is required to establish the functions of self-directed speech, and to determine in what ways these might be self-regulatory. Illustrative analyses are presented of data from a study comparing the patterns of self-directed speech use during a planning task in typically developing children and matched peers with Specific Language Impairment. The results obtained from t-pattern analysis reveal qualitative differences between these two groups of children, in their use of self-directed speech, which were not detected by the other two methods. Implications of examining recurring temporal patterns in behaviour for research investigating aspects of development, particularly self-regulation, are discussed.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Atencio, D. J., & Montero, I. (2009). Private speech and motivation: The role of language in a sociocultural account of motivational processes. In A. Winsler, C. Fernyhough, & I. Montero (Eds.), Private speech, executive functioning, and the development of verbal self-regulation (pp. 201–223). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Azmitia, M. (1992). Expertise, private speech, and the development of self-regulation. In R. M. Diaz & L. E. Berk (Eds.), Private speech: From social interaction to self-regulation (pp. 101–122). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J. M. (1997). Observing interaction: An introduction to sequential analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bavin, E., Wilson, P., Maruff, P., & Sleeman, F. (2005). Spatio-visual memory of children with specific language impairment: evidence for generalized processing problems. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 40(3), 319–332.
Behrend, D., Rosengren, K., & Perlmutter, M. (1989). A new look at children’s private speech: the effects of age, task difficulty and parent presence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 12, 305–320.
Behrend, D., Rosengren, K., & Perlmutter, M. (1992). The relation between private speech and parental interactive style. In R. M. Diaz & L. E. Berk (Eds.), Private speech: From social interaction to self-regulation (pp. 85–100). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
Beitchman, J., Wilson, B., Johnson, C., Atkinson, L., Young, A., Adlaf, E., et al. (2001). Fourteen-year follow-up of speech/language-impaired and control children: psychiatric out- come. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(1), 75–82.
Berk, L. E. (1986). Relationship of elementary school children’s private speech to behavioral accompaniment to task, attention, and task performance. Developmental Psychology, 22(5), 671–680.
Berk, L., & Garvin, R. (1984). Development of private speech among low-income appalachian children. Developmental Psychology, 20(2), 271–286.
Berk, L. E., & Spuhl, S. T. (1995). Maternal interaction, private speech, and task performance in preschool children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 10(2), 145–169.
Bishop, D. V. M. (2003). The test for reception of grammar, version 2 (TROG-2). London: Pearson Assessment.
Bishop, D. V. M. (2004). Expression, reception and recall of narrative instrument (ERRNI). London: Pearson Assessment.
Bishop, D. V. M., & Norbury, C. F. (2005). Executive functions in children with communication impairments, in relation to autistic symptomatology. 2: Response inhibition. Autism: the international journal of research and practice, 9(1), 29–43. doi:10.1177/1362361305049028.
Borrie, A., Jonsson, G. K., & Magnusson, M. S. (2002). Temporal pattern analysis and its applicability in sport: an explanation and exemplar data. Journal of Sports Sciences. doi:10.1080/026404102320675675.
Botting, N., & Conti-Ramsden, G. (2000). Social and behavioural difficulties in children with language impairment. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 16(2), 105–120.
Brinton, B., Spackman, M., Fujiki, M., & Ricks, J. (2007). What should Chris say? The ability of children with specific language impairment to recognize the need to dissemble emotions in social situations. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 50(3), 798–811.
Bronson, M. (2000). Self-regulation in early childhood. New York: The Guilford Press.
Bryce, D., & Whitebread, D. (2012) The development of metacognitive skills: evidence from observational analysis of young children’s behaviour during problem-solving. Metacognition and Learning, 7(3), 197–217. doi:10.1007/s11409-012-9091-2
Casarrubea, M., Roy, V., Sorbera, F., Magnusson, M. S., Santangelo, A., Arabo, A., et al. (2012). Temporal structure of the rat’s behavior in elevated plus maze test. Behavioural Brain Research. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2012.09.049.
Cohen, I. L., Vietze, P. M., Sudhalter, V., Jenkins, E. C., & Brown, W. T. (1989). Parent–child dyadic gaze patterns in fragile X males and in non-fragile X males with autistic disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 30(6), 845–856.
Cole, P. M., Armstrong, L. M., & Pemberton, C. K. (2010). The role of language in the development of emotion regulation. In S. Calkins & M. Bell (Eds.), Child development at the intersection of emotion and cognition: Human brain development (pp. 59–77). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
Conti-Ramsden, G., & Botting, N. (2008). Emotional health in adolescents with and without a history of specific language impairment (SLI). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(5), 516–525.
Conti-Ramsden, G., & Durkin, K. (2008). Language and independence in adolescents with and without a history of specific language impairment (sli). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51(1), 70–83.
de Haas, R., Nijdam, A., Westra, T. A., Kas, M. J., & Westenberg, H. G. (2011). Behavioral pattern analysis and dopamine release in quinpirole-induced repetitive behavior in rats. Journal of Psychopharmacology. doi:10.1177/0269881110389093.
Dermitzaki, I., Leondari, A., & Goudas, M. (2009). Relations between young students’ strategic behaviours, domain-specific self-concept, and performance in a problem-solving situation. Learning and Instruction, 19(2), 144–157.
Díaz, R. M. (1986). Issues in the empirical study of private speech: a response to Frawley and Lantolf’s commentary. Developmental Psychology, 22(5), 709–711. doi:10.1037/0012-16184.108.40.2069.
Duncan, R. M., & Pratt, M. W. (1997). Microgenetic change in the quantity and quality of preschoolers’ private speech. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 20(2), 367–383.
Fernyhough, C., & Fradley, E. (2005). Private speech on an executive task: relations with task difficulty and task performance. Cognitive Development, 20(1), 103–120.
Finneran, D., Francis, A., & Leonard, L. (2009). Sustained attention in children with specific language impairment (SLI). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52(4), 915–929.
Flavell, J., Beach, D., & Chinsky, J. (1966). Spontaneous verbal rehearsal in a memory task as a function of age. Child Development, 37(2), 283–299.
Frauenglass, M. H., & Diaz, R. M. (1985). Self-regulatory functions of children’s private speech. A critical analysis of recent challenges to Vygotsky’s theory. Developmental Psychology, 21(2), 357–364.
Frawley, W., & Lantolf, J. P. (1986). Private speech and self-regulation: a commentary on Frauenglass and Diaz. Developmental Psychology, 22(5), 706–708.
Fujiki, M., Spackman, M.P., & Brinton, B. (2004). The Relationship of Language and Emotion Regulation Skills to Reticence in Children With Specific Language Impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 637-646. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/049).
Gunter, P. L., Jack, S. L., Shores, R. E., Carrell, D. E., & Flowers, J. (1993). Lag sequential analysis as a tool for functional analysis of student disruptive behavior in classrooms. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. doi:10.1177/106342669300100301.
Hart, K., Fujiki, M., Brinton, B., & Hart, C. (2004). The relationship between social behavior and severity of language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47(3), 647–662.
Hou, H. T., Chang, K. E., & Sung, Y. T. (2010). Applying lag sequential analysis to detect visual behavioural patterns of online learning activities. British Journal of Educational Technology. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.00935.x.
Kerepesi, A., Kubinyi, E., Jonsson, G. K., Magnusson, M. S., & Miklósi, Á. (2006). Behavioural comparison of human–animal (dog) and human–robot (AIBO) interactions. Behavioural Processes. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2006.04.001.
Kohlberg, L., Yaeger, J., & Hjertholm, E. (1968). Private speech: four studies and a review of theories. Child Development, 39(3), 691–736.
Krafft, K., & Berk, L. (1998). Private speech in two preschools: significance of open-ended activities and make-believe play for verbal self-regulation. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13(4), 637–658.
Lidstone, J., Meins, E., & Fernyhough, C. (2010). The roles of private speech and inner speech in planning during middle childhood: evidence from a dual task paradigm. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 107(4), 438–451.
Lidstone, J., Meins, E., & Fernyhough, C. (2012). Verbal mediation of cognition in children with specific language impairment. Development and Psychopathology, 24, 651–660.
Lindsay, G., & Dockrell, J. (2000). The behaviour and self-esteem of children with specific speech and language difficulties. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70(4), 583–601.
Luria, A. R. (1959). The directive function of speech in development and dissolution. Word, 16, 341–352.
Magnusson, M. S. (1996). Hidden real-time patterns in intra- and inter-individual behavior: description and detection. European Journal of Psychological Assessment. doi:10.1027/1015-57220.127.116.11.
Magnusson, M. S. (2000). Discovering hidden time patterns in behavior: T-patterns and their detection. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers: A Journal of the Psychonomic Society, Inc, 32(1), 93–110.
Mainela-Arnold, E., Evans, J., & Alibali, M. (2006). Understanding conservation delays in children with specific language impairment: task representations revealed in speech and gesture. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49(6), 1267–1279.
Manning, B. H., & White, C. S. (1990). Task-relevant private speech as a function of age and sociability. Psychology in the Schools, 27, 365–372.
Matuga, J. M. (2003). Children’s private speech during algorithmic and heuristic drawing tasks. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 28(4), 552–572.
Müller, U., Zelazo, P. D., Hood, S., Leone, T., & Rohrer, L. (2004). Interference control in a new rule use task: age-related changes, labelling, and attention. Child Development, 75(5), 1594–1609.
Müller, U., Zelazo, P. D., Lurye, L. E., & Liebermann, D. P. (2008). The effect of labeling on preschool children’s performance in the Dimensional Change Card Sort Task. Cognitive Development, 23(3), 395–408.
Nelson, T. O., & Narens, L. (1990). Metamemory: a theoretical framework and new findings. In G. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 26). New York: Academic.
Noldus. (2002a). The Observer: Professional system for collection, analysis, presentation and management of observational data. Wageningen: Noldus.
Noldus. (2002b). Theme: Powerful tool for detection and analysis of hidden patterns in behavior. Wageningen: Noldus.
Piaget, J. (1923). Le Langage et la Pensée chez l’enfant. Paris: Delachaux & Niestlé.
Pintrich, P. R. (2000). The role of goal orientation in self-regulated learning. In P. R. Pintrich, M. Boekaerts, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 452–502). Orlando: Academic.
Qi, C. H., & Kaiser, A. P. (2004). Problem behaviors of low-income children with language delays: an observation study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47(3), 595.
Raven, J. C. (2008). Coloured progressive matrices. Oxford: Oxford Psychologists Press.
Rohde, D. L., Gonnerman, L. M., & Plaut, D. C. (2004). An improved method for deriving word meaning from lexical co-occurrence. Cognitive Psychology, 7, 573–605.
Tardif, C., Plumet, M.-H., Beaudichon, J., Waller, D., Bouvard, M., & Leboyer, M. (1995). Micro-analysis of social interactions between autistic children and normal adults in semi-structured play situations. International Journal of Behavioral Development. doi:10.1177/016502549501800409.
Tomblin, J., Zhang, X., Buckwalter, P., & Catts, H. (2000). The association of reading disability, behavioral disorders, and language impairment among second-grade children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41(4), 473–482.
Vaughn, B. E., Kopp, C. B., & Krakow, J. B. (1984). The emergence and consolidation of self-control from eighteen to thirty months of age: normative trends and individual differences. Child Development, 55(3), 990–1004.
Vollaton, C., & Ayoub, C. (2011). Use your words: the role of language in the development of toddlers’ self-regulation. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 169–181.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge: MIT Press (original work published in 1934).
Warreyn, P., Roeyers, H., Van Wetswinkel, U., & De Groote, I. (2007). Temporal coordination of joint attention behavior in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0184-0.
Wertsch, J. V. (1983). The role of semiosis in L. S. Vygotsky’s theory of human cognition. In B. Bain (Ed.), The sociogenesis of language and human conduct. New York: Plenum.
Whitebread, D., & Neilson, K. (2000). The contribution of visual search strategies to the development of pedestrian skills by 4–11 year old children. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70(4), 539–557. doi:10.1348/000709900158290.
Whitebread, D., Coltman, P., Pasternak, D. P., Sangster, C., Grau, V., Bingham, S., Almeqdad, Q., & Demetriou, D. (2009). The development of two observational tools for assessing metacognition and self-regulated learning in young children. Metacognition and Learning, 4(1), 63–85.
Windsor, J., Kohnert, K., Loxtercamp, A., & Kan, P. (2008). Performance on nonlinguistic visual tasks by children with language impairment. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29(2), 237–268.
Winsler, A. (1998). Parent–child interaction and private speech in boys with ADHD. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2(1), 17–39.
Winsler, A., Diaz, R. M., & Montero, I. (1997). The role of private speech in the transition from collaborative to independent task performance in young children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12(1), 59–79.
Winsler, A., De León, J. R., Wallace, B. A., Carlton, M. P., & Willson-Quayle, A. (2003). Private speech in preschool children: developmental stability and change, across-task consistency, and relations with classroom behaviour. Journal of Child Language, 30(3), 583–608.
Winsler, A., Abar, B., Feder, M. A., Schunn, C. D., & Rubio, D. A. (2007). Private speech and executive functioning among high-functioning children with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(9), 1617–1635.
Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: an overview. Theory into Practice, 41(2), 64–70.
This research was supported by two PhD studentships funded by the Cambridge Overseas Trust and the LEGO® Learning Institute.
About this article
Cite this article
Kuvalja, M., Verma, M. & Whitebread, D. Patterns of co-occurring non-verbal behaviour and self-directed speech; a comparison of three methodological approaches. Metacognition Learning 9, 87–111 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11409-013-9106-7
- Self-directed speech
- Private speech
- Specific Language Impairment (SLI)
- Temporal pattern
- T-pattern analysis