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Questionnaires are often used as measures of inner experience. This study questions the adequacy of such measures, using inner speech as an example. We compared two questionnaire measures of inner speaking to each other and to inner experience as apprehended by Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES, a naturalistic, high fidelity method of exploring inner experience). Undergraduate volunteers (N = 260) took two questionnaires designed to measure inner speaking: the Self-Talk Scale (STS) and the Nevada Inner Experience Questionnaire (NIEQ). A subset of these (N = 16) participated in DES to investigate their inner speaking with fidelity. Scores on the NIEQ and STS were strongly correlated. However, the correlations between either questionnaire and DES-apprehended inner speaking were near zero—questionnaire ratings of inner speaking grossly overestimated the frequency of inner speaking as found by DES. These results suggest that questionnaire responses may be based more on presuppositions about experience than on actually occurring experience, and suggest caution in using questionnaires to study inner experience.
descriptive experince sampling; inner experience; inner speech; questionnaires; self talk
Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Psychology
Kelsey, Jason Michael, "Inner Experience and Self-Ratings of Inner Speaking" (2016). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 2691.