More Pronoun Research

Dr. Pennebaker, chair of the psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us, is on a roll lately.  

His research was picked up by WSJ:

"112 psychology students were assigned to same-sex groups of two. The pairs worked to solve a series of complex problems. All interaction took place online. No one was assigned to a leadership role, but participants were asked at the end of the experiment who they thought had power and status. Researchers found that the higher the person's perceived power, the less he or she used 'I.' "



Give Me Two Pronouns

Who? Me? Psychologist James Pennebaker from the University of Texas at Austin discovered that "if people were asked to write about emotional upheavals, their physical health improved and the ways people used pronouns in their essays predicted whose health would improve the most. Specifically, those people who benefited the most from writing changed in their pronoun use from one essay to another. Pronouns were reflecting people’s abilities to change perspective."

If you think this trivial consider research that found that poets who committed suicide used more I-words than non-suicidal poets.

So does it matter if you're a man or woman? Yes. Interestingly, women use more I-words and cognitive words like "because" and "think", than men. There is actually no difference between the sexes when it comes to emotion words like "happy" or "sad".