Repeat the question to gain time to answer.

Most of the time when someone asks us a question we do not need to stop to meditate on the answer or think about it, rather, our brain does in thousandths of a second the operations necessary to manufacture or think about the answer to the question we have been asked.

However, there are times when an unexpected question catches us by surprise and the brain takes a little longer to find or manufacture that answer, in this case many times automatically and unconsciously we repeat aloud the same question that we have been asked. Why does this happen?

Will you be gaining a few seconds to remember the answer… or to invent it?

Why is it that we sometimes repeat out loud the question we have just been asked?

It is curious, because when we are not able to respond directly we could simply remain silent while we think about the answer, anyway it would surely be only 1 or 2 seconds what it would take to answer, a logical time that does not imply that the other person will get impatient waiting for the answer. However, it happens that many times the brain chooses to use the repetition of the question aloud.


Repeating the question aloud may be due to at least two reasons:

The first reason is that we may know the answer but need a moment to think about it. None of us like to look silly or seem to have little knowledge, and that’s precisely what we think we look like if we don’t answer a question quickly and directly. For example, children use this technique a lot when a teacher asks them a question, such as the following:

– Jaime, how much is eight for eight?,
– Eight for eight? 64.

The second reason may be because the answer is not in our head, that is, we need that valuable time while repeating the question so that the brain can invent or manufacture the answer (for example when we lie about where we have been), and for that we also use the repetition of the question, as in the following example:

– What did you do last night?
– Last night? I was watching a movie.

This method makes us gain a few hundredths of a second to try to make the other person not realize that we are thinking about what to answer and we give our brain that extra time to think or invent the answer.

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