Wednesday, September 28 , 2022

Constantly Pointing Out Grammar Mistakes Makes You An Assh*le, Scientists Find

(Expanded Consciousness) Hey, finally a piece of information you can show to that one friend whose undying mission in life is to make sure people use the English language properly, all the time.

The study discovered that folks who are irritated by grammatical errors on the Internet tend to have “less agreeable” personalities when compared to people who just let it go. Further psychological testing on these subjects revealed that not only are they less agreeable, they’re less open on a general level and are more likely to judge you for flaws and errors.

All of this sounds kind of obvious as you read through it, but this is the first instance of researchers being able to actually prove that personality traits influence how people react to typos and grammatical errors; and furthermore, it provides a bit of insight on the communications and miscommunications of the Internet.

“In this experiment, we examined the social judgments that readers made about the writers,” says lead researcher Julie Boland, of the University of Michigan.

The study had 83 subjects read responses to an online ad searching for a housemate. The responses they read either had no grammatical errors, or had been made to look like many grammatical errors were made, being doctored with typos (letters being mixed around) or improper use of words, like too/to or it’s/its.

These 83 people were then asked to judge the person who wrote the response they’d received in terms of intelligence, friendliness and various other things, like how good of a housemate they would be. At the end of the experiment, participants were asked if they’d noticed any grammatical errors or typos in the emails they read, and how much (if at all) it bothered them.

Then, the 83 participants completed a Big Five personality test that revealed how they rate in terms of openness, agreeableness, extraversion/introversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness, as well as collected general information like age, background and any pre-conceived attitudes they had regarding language.

As one could imagine, the email responses that were riddled with typos and grammatical errors were rated as worse than the ones that had perfect conventional grammar. However, they also found that certain personality types were harsher in their judgments about the authors of the typo-filled responses.

Extroverted people were the most likely to not care about grammatical errors, while introverts were more likely to view the author in a negative light. People with conscientious, but less open personalities were sensitive to typos, and people with “less agreeable” personalities were upset the most by conventional errors.

Oddly enough, neuroticism played virtually no role in how a person interpreted grammatical errors.

“Perhaps because less agreeable people are less tolerant of deviations from convention,” the researchers note.

Further research is needed to really solidify these findings, so this data should be taken lightly. But at the very least, we know that our typos only truly upset a very specific type of person.

This post was republished from:

H/T: Science Alert