Proper Punctuation Can Make You Seem Like A Jerk

Punctuation - Let's Eat Grandma!A recent study done at Binghamton University has revealed that those of us who are obsessed with using proper punctuation are apparently jerks.  Yes, the fact I use periods in my text messages makes me a terrible person.  Period.

The study was conducted with 126 undergrad students who rated the sincerity of short text and handwritten messages they received.  The messages the students were given consisted of short exchanges that included or excluded the period at the end of a sentence.

When rating those messages that were delivered via text messaging they consistently rated those without punctuation as being more sincere than those that contained the period at the end of the sentence.

When they reviewed the handwritten notes there was no substantial difference between those containing a period and those that did not.

Celia Klin, the lead researcher on the study, explained the findings by saying, “Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on.  People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them — emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”

As a follow-up to the initial study it was discovered that unlike a period at the end of the sentence an exclamation mark had the opposite effect.  When it was included at the end of a sentence it became more sincere than the sentence without.

So at this point I will need to reassess my texting habits and try to work on introducing an intentional lack of punctuation into my texts.  Especially those I send to the people I care about.  That is unless I of course use an exclamation point! <– See what I did there?  🙂

Source Links: Eurekalert | Android Authority

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