The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It
Tell a stranger that you talk to yourself, and you’re likely to be written off as eccentric—but the truth is, we all have a voice in our head. When we talk to ourselves, we hope to tap into our inner coach, but unfortunately, we often find our inner critic instead. Ethan Kross, an award-winning psychologist and the author of Chatter, studies how the conversations people have with themselves impact their health, performance, decisions, and relationships. His talks help us harness the hidden power of our inner voice and use it to live healthier, more satisfying, and more productive lives.
“Fresh and riveting, Chatter is a masterpiece—a landmark book that will change the way you think about human nature. Ethan Kross is one part sage, one part mensch, and one part world class psychological scientist.”— Angela Duckworth, author of #1 New York Times bestseller Grit
In his upcoming book Chatter (Crown, January 2021), acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross reveals how our internal conversations can shape our lives in surprising ways. For example, giving in to negative and disorienting self-talk—what he calls “chatter”—doesn’t just lead us to feel bad. It can actually tank our health, strain our social connections, and even cause us to fold under pressure. In fact, the negative performance effects of rumination have been well-documented in many arenas, from sports stadiums to the corporate C-suite. The good news is that we have everything we need to make our inner voice work in our favor, says Kross. In his expertly researched debut, he gives us the chance to change the narrative using tools we already have at our disposal—often hidden in plain sight—such as the relationships we have, or the physical and digital spaces we inhabit. Using science-based techniques, Kross helps audiences use these tools to master their emotional-decision making, generate wiser responses to challenges, boost their productivity, and enhance success. Brilliantly argued and deeply compelling, Chatter has received early praise from leaders in the field, such as Angela Duckworth, the world’s preeminent expert on grit, and New York Times bestselling author Dan Pink, who declares, “Ethan Kross has written the definitive work on how to redirect our inner voices away from rumination and self-criticism and toward reflection and self-improvement.” In a recent Good Morning America appearance, Kross applied his insights to the pandemic, showing a national audience why mastering self-talk is also the key to overcoming anxiety and frustration stemming from the crisis.
An award-winning professor at the University of Michigan and the Ross School of Business, Kross is also the director of the Emotion & Self Control Laboratory. There, he explores how people can control their emotions in order to improve our understanding of self-control, and how to enhance it in our daily lives. Using an integrative approach to study these issues, Kross draws on multiple disciplines within psychology, including social, personality, clinical, developmental, and neuroscience.
Kross has participated in policy discussion at the White House and has been interviewed on CBS Evening News, Good Morning America, and NPR’s Morning Edition. His pioneering research has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New England Journal of Medicine, and Science. Kross completed his BA at the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD at Columbia University.