Mental Wrestling: The Power of Talking it Out

By Beth Baldys

Mon Sep 16 2019

Finding the right words to say and understanding why that search matters.


“Mental wrestling.

We’ve all been there. That familiar “tug-of-war” as we work out how we think or feel about something, or what action we’ll take.

But did you know that “mental wrestling” is one of the most important — and overlooked — keys to understanding customer behavior we have?

Psychology Today has defined mental wrestling as “the act of ‘shaping’ thoughts and feelings by struggling to find the words which allow them to have meaning in consciousness.” In essence — translating how we think and feel into words that can be shared with others.

We’ve even designed our digital communication to account for our need to stop and think things through.

We’ve even designed our digital communication to account for our need to stop and think things through. For example, when we see those ubiquitous three dots […] appearing and disappearing in the bubble of our text chats, we know our conversational partner is typing […] pausing […] and typing again.Watching those three dots appear and disappear ultimately signals to us that someone is “thinking” about what to text next, about whether the words they have typed align with what they “mean to say,” and is a visual queue to us that they are actively contemplating how their message will be received.

While we may think of this cognitive “tug-of-war” as taking place “all in our heads” — these dynamics are particularly observable through the power of voice. Consider someone struggling to find the right words, waffling in response to a question, starting to articulate a thought, then restarting as they correct themselves mid-sentence.

Our team of linguists is specially trained to listen and identify when mental wrestling is occurring, when it isn’t, and why it matters.

At inVibe, we’ve designed our voice-response methodology specifically to observe these subconscious phenomena at work. Our team of linguists is specially trained to listen and identify when mental wrestling is occurring, when it isn’t, and why it matters.

What’s more, our acoustic algorithms enable us to track aspects of speech like syllable rate, cadence, and other features, which can shed further light on instances when speakers’ cognitive wheels shift into overdrive.

Beth Baldys, inVibe’s Director of Listening explains this phenomenon:

“Capturing authentic stories through spoken language gives our team of linguists a way to explore and analyze the nature of our respondents’ thinking and feeling much more so than other text formats. We can listen for restarts, pauses, as well as word choices and intonation, which often signal someone may be hesitant, changing their mind, or having an internal debate in some way.”

By letting respondents take their time to answer each question, without fear of being interrupted, we are able to listen, not only as they discover and phonetically ‘shape’ the best word or words to express and convey the content of a thought, but also to the nature of the feelings that accompany it.

Curious what else the power of voice can reveal about your customers? Contact us today and let us help you start listening!

Originally published September 10, 2019.

Copyright © 2019 inVibe Labs. All rights reserved.

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