What Pronouns Can Tell You About Your Sex Life

The words we pay the least attention to in conversations--connectors like 'the', 'this', 'that', 'and', etc.--are highly reflective of our sexual desire and our relative place in society. 

What's the Latest Development?

The words we pay the least attention to in conversation--connectors like 'the', 'this', 'there', 'and' and 'that'--reflect our sexual desire and our place in society, says U of Texas psychologist James Pennebaker. By analyzing conversations recorded during speed dates, Pennebaker could predict which couples were sexually interested in each other and which were likely to see each other again after the first date. "Pennabaker found that when the language style of two people matched, i.e. when they used pronouns, prepositions, articles and so forth in similar ways at similar rates, they were much more likely to end up on a date."

What's the Big Idea?

Another clue as to how language reflects, and perhaps helps build, our social organizations is the use of personal pronouns, particularly 'I'. In social correspondence like emails and letters, Pennebaker says people who are higher on the social totem use fewer personal pronouns, while those with lower status, who are more self-conscious of how they come across, use 'I' more frequently. So can we change our lives by changing our language? Doubtful, says Pennebaker. "The words reflect who we are more than drive who we are," he said. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less

The most culturally chauvinist people in Europe? Greeks, new research suggests

Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.

Image: Pew Research Center
Strange Maps
  • Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
  • Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
  • British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
Keep reading Show less

A map of London's most toxic breathing spots

Air pollution is up to five times over the EU limit in these Central London hotspots.

Strange Maps
  • Dirty air is an invisible killer, but an effective one.
  • More than 9,000 people die prematurely in London each year due to air pollution, a recent study estimates.
  • This map visualizes the worst places to breathe in Central London.
Keep reading Show less