Friday, August 19, 2011

The Secret Language Code: Scientific American

> PENNEBAKER: Almost everything you think you know is probably wrong. Take this little test. Who uses the following words more, women or men?
>> > 1st person singular (I, me, my)
> > 1st person plural (we, us our)
> > articles (a, an, the)
> > emotion words (e.g., happy, sad, love, hate)
> > cognitive words (e.g., because, reason, think, believe)
> > social words (e.g., he, she, friend, cousin)
>> Most people assume that men use I-words and cognitive words more than women and that women use we-words, emotions, and social words more than men. Bad news. You were right if you guessed that women use social words more. However, women use I-words and cognitive words at far higher rates than men. There are no reliable differences between men and women for use of we-words or emotion words (OK, those were trick questions). And men use articles more than women, when you might guess there’d be no difference.

> Men and women use language differently because they negotiate their worlds differently. Across dozens and dozens of studies, women tend to talk more about other human beings. Men, on the other hand, are more interested in concrete objects and things. To talk about human relationships requires social and cognitive words. To talk about concrete objects, you need concrete nouns which typically demand the use of articles.

> One of the most interesting results was part of a study my students and I conducted dealing with status in email correspondence. Basically, we discovered that in any interaction, the person with the higher status uses I-words less (yes, less) than people who are low in status.

Posted via email from The Blue Pelican

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