What are the psychological mechanisms for people who can't seem to help frequently "talking too much"?

Specifically, I am referring to those that recognise cues to when someone is busy, disinterested or distracted, but are compelled to continue talking.


1 Answer 1


Compulsive talking appears to be linked with the inability to manage social anxiety. Whether the anxiety is brought about from the uncomfortability of the interaction or from the avoidance of deep seated feelings within the individual.

People who score beyond two standard deviations above the mean on the scale are labeled as “talkaholics,”

as cited by James C. McCroskey & Virginia P. Richmond

The most common and basic cause of any compulsive behavior is anxiety. A person engages in compulsive behavior not because he particularly wants to, but because he’s so anxious that he has to do something to get his mind off that anxiety. Until the compulsive talker comes to grips with whatever he or she doesn’t want to think about, the talking will continue.

The root of this anxiety varies from individual to individual. But it often stems from deep-seated emotions of insecurity and inadequacy.../...

For the compulsive talker, silence and reflection are simply unacceptable. A pause in conversation is an emotional abyss into which they simply cannot help but throw themselves.

written by Dr Hurd

Compulsive talking could be confused with Pressure of Speech. Which can be associated with mania and attention deficit disorder. Pressured speech is marked by speaking rapidly, with a sense of urgency and, frequently, with no social awareness.

Logorrhea is another condition, which causes the person to talk endlessly, but, usually, in an incoherent, rambling fashion.

Identifying compulsive communicators: The talkaholic scale
James C. McCroskey & Virginia P. Richmond
Communication Research Reports
Volume 10, Issue 2, 1993

Talking too much can have deep-seated roots
Dr Hurd
Private Practice of Psychotherapy and Solution-Focused Consultation since 1988.
Multiple published works.