Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies

Language and Autosuggestion - The way words shape our reality

Fee Anna Arnold, Ursula Beata Baur, Gabriel Germann

The way somebody talks to you influences your thinking, mood, and behaviour. 

However, not only external sources like other people’s language have that ability; with our own words we ourselves can affect the way we construct our reality. Psychotherapy uses this approach for cognitive restructuring through self-induced suggestions to help people with depression, self-esteem problems or other issues. From a neurological perspective, this phenomenon might be explained by the plasticity of the brain which allows reinforcement of certain neural pathways via autosuggestive behavior. In this case, the brain would reinforce certain behaviour by constant conceptualization of linguistic patterns. In the same way the theory of speech acts by Austin and Searle can be used in a self-transformative manner. As an application example for this theoretical approach we will examine texts of Franz Kafka, especially his letters and diaries.