It’s Not Just In Your Head, The Grammar Police Really Are Judging You
Ouch. Better double check that email before clicking send.
Does the tpyo in this sentence bother you? If so, you’re probably not very nice—at least according to science.
A recent University of Michigan study found that people who overlook mistakes in writing tend to be nicer than grammar sticklers. Researchers asked participants to read emails, some of which contained typos and grammatical errors, and rate their overall positivity toward the message writer. The researchers also evaluated participants’ personalities using the Big Five Personality Index.
It turns out that people who were determined to be “more agreeable” were also less sensitive to typos and grammatical errors. Meanwhile, people with less agreeable personalities were harsher critics of the messages with mistakes.
“Social assessments of written errors take on particular importance given that many of our interactions either occur solely via electronically mediated communication (EMC) or become face to face interactions only after initial vetting via EMC,” the study says. “This is true of interactions with people we know and, of particular interest in this study, with people we don’t know.”
So there you have it—one more reason to proofread that email or status update before you share it with the world. Or if you’re one of the grammar sticklers, give those who are prone to typos a break, would ya?