We all know that some people truly just can’t handle errors in written work; occasionally, that person is also you. However, what does your response to mistakes reveal about you personally? Thankfully, science has arrived to add a bit more clarity to that situation. Fair warning, though: You might not like the solution if you often carry a red pen with you to correct usage and spelling errors.
Researchers recently looked into how personality influences how people react to written errors in email messages. The study’s clever title, “If You’re House Is Still Available, Send Me an Email: Personality Influences Reactions to Written Errors in Email Messages,” inspired them to find out what traits might be shared by people who react similarly to errors in writing. A variety of emails were displayed to the participants in response to a housemate ad; some of the emails had typos (such as mistyping “the” as “teh”), some had glaring grammar issues (such as mixing up “to” and “too”), and some were error-free.
However, the degree to which a person responded negatively to grammar and typos was independent of many factors you might expect, such as age, education, or how frequently they used electronic communication. As expected, the emails with mistakes were not as well received as the emails without them. On the other hand, personality qualities appeared to predict the outcomes pretty effectively.
What does your response to typos reveal about you as a person then? Here are some of the conclusions.
1. Grammar Concerns Are Lessened in Agreeable People
It seems that there is some truth to the notion that language nerds are disagreeable and stuffy. (Pardon me, word nerds.) The study’s participants who performed better on a personality test that measured agreeableness tended to be less picky about language errors. According to researchers, this is because less agreeable people are “less tolerant of deviations from convention.” Typos still annoy even agreeable people, though.
2. Introverts Give Typos More Attention
Extroverts are often the most laid-back when it comes to making mistakes in their writing because they don’t get overly stressed out over typos or spelling errors. This makes sense to me: Introverts, on the other hand, worry more about both typos and grammatical problems. Extroverts, on the other hand, probably care more about communicating than if you’re following all the rules when doing so.
3. It Has Nothing To Do With Being Conscientious.
Conscientiousness, a psychological quality frequently linked to self-control and meticulousness, was thought by researchers to increase prejudice against mistakes and typos, but it appears to have no effect at all, at least to their knowledge. In other words, paying attention to detail doesn’t necessarily make you more sensitive to errors. Fascinating, no?
It’s important to note that none of this implies that agreeable or extroverted people don’t care about language or that introverts can’t see past them. Simply put, affable and outgoing people are less prone to allow grammatical and spelling mistakes influence how they see others. That’s probably a good thing because language ought to be more about effective communication than strict obedience to the laws.