“Contrary to the traditional views of the music industry, removal of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions can actually decrease piracy, according to new research from Rice University and Duke University.”—Rice University | News & Media
I’m a social psychologist whose interest in these words came about almost accidentally. In the early 1980s, I stumbled on a finding that fascinated me. People who reported having a traumatic experience and who kept the experience a secret had far more health problems than people who talked openly. Why would keeping a secret be so unhealthy? If you asked people to write about their secrets, would their health improve? The answer, I soon discovered, was yes. As part of this work, we developed a computer program to analyse the language people used when they wrote about traumas. We made numerous discoveries using this tool, such as the value of using words associated with positive emotions. However, our most striking discovery was not about the content of people’s writing but the style. In particular, we found that the use of pronouns – I, me, we, she, they – mattered enormously. The more people changed from using first-person singular pronouns (I, me, my) to using other pronouns (we, you, she, they) from one piece of writing to the next, the better their health became. Their word use reflected their psychological state.