“hyey. How was your wknf? you want too get dinnr on tuesday? mist ya!”
How would you feel about receiving the above text? Would the errors bother you, or would you be unfazed?
According to new study, published in the journal PLOS One, certain personality traits may predict whether someone gets judgy when they read typos and "grammos." The long story short is: Send your sloppiest texts to extroverts. They'll be like, "LOL, sounds like your havig a fun knight. Lets hanng." The opposite was pretty much true for introverts.
In the era of rapid, non-stop e-communication, we interact with a lot of people we don't know. And, in doing so, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, we judge their e-missives because we lack the sort of contextual information available in face-to-face chats that might otherwise absolve them of our tsk-tsk-ing. (And, let's be honest, social media is a superfund site of linguistic sewage. From youths saying "this is goals" (what happened to subject-verb agreement, kids?) to facebook diatribes that contain no punctuation other than elipses (did some English teacher say, "When in doubt," three periods for clarity?"), abuse and misuse of our 26 sacred letters (and 14 puncutation marks) is flagrant. Wright?
The Michigan researchers sought to answer two questions that no one else has addressed (to their knowledge): "First, do people react to different types of errors differently, and second, are there individual differences that affect the impact of written errors?"
To sate their curiosity, researchers recruited 83 study participants to judge emails from strangers. Participants received $1 for volunteering. First, they provided demographic information, answered questions about their views on grammatical errors and took personality tests that assessed the Big Five personality traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
Then, the experiment began: Researchers generated a series of mock emails that were simulated responses to roomate-needed ads. They then created three versions of each (otherwise identical) email: one without errors, a second with grammos only and a third with typos only.
Participants read 12 mock emails and then filled out questionnaires in which they judged the writers of the emails on perceived intelligence and friendliness, among other qualities. Participants did not know the emails were fake. They also indicated whether they noticed errors in the emails and, if so, how much the errors bothered them.
((The study distinguished errors as either typos or “grammos,” i.e., improperly used homophones (too/to, you’re/your, etc.)).
- Of the five personality traits, agreeability most strongly predicted tolerance of grammos. Highly agreeable people were like, "Grammos? Fine by me." No such link emerged between agreeability and typo-judging.
- Extroverts were nice about grammos and typos, and extraversion was the only personality trait that predicted reactions to both types of errors. Introverts were more likely to drink the haterade.
- Openness and conscientiousness were linked to judgment of typos, but not grammos.
- Neuroticism didn't predict answers in any way.
"Although personality traits have been linked to variation in production," study authors wrote,"this is the first study to show that the personality traits of listeners/readers have an effect on the overall assessment — what we might think of as the social processing — of variable language. Different sets of personality traits were relevant for the two types of errors."
Someone once described my texts as reflecting “unusual orthography." Translation: "I judge you for sending messages so riddled with errors that I could only assume you washed your phone in wine and broke every finger except your left pinky. And... FYI, you're smothering me. I need my alone time, thanks." They must have been an introvert.