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Description: This study explores whether the speech motor system is involved in verbal rumination, a particular kind of inner speech. The motor simulation hypothesis considers inner speech as an action, accompanied by simulated speech percepts, that would as such involve the speech motor system. If so, we could expect verbal rumination to be disrupted by concurrent involvement of the speech apparatus. We recruited 106 healthy adults and measured their self-reported level of rumination before and after a rumination induction, as well as after five minutes of a subsequent motor task (either an articulatory suppression -silent mouthing- task or a finger tapping control task). We also evaluated to what extent ruminative thoughts were experienced with a verbal quality or in another modality (e.g., visual images, non-speech sounds). Self-reported levels of rumination showed a decrease after both motor activities (silent mouthing and finger-tapping), with only a slightly stronger decrease after the articulatory suppression than the control task. The rumination level decrease was not moderated by the modality of the ruminative thoughts. We discuss these results within the framework of verbal rumination as simulated speech and suggest alternative ways to test the engagement of the speech motor system in verbal rumination. Pre-registered protocol, preprint, data, as well as reproducible code and figures are available at:

License: CC0 1.0 Universal

Has supplemental materials for Articulatory suppression effects on induced rumination on PsyArXiv


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