A new study found out what our grandparents have been telling us all along –we respond differently to what people say depending on whether or not it’s written or spoken. Buzz 60’s Chandra Lanier has the story.
You’ve seen it happen dozens if not hundreds of times. You post an opinion, or a complaint, or a link to an article on Facebook. Somebody adds a comment, disagreeing (or agreeing) with whatever you posted. Someone else posts another comment disagreeing with the first commenter, or with you, or both. Then others jump in to add their own viewpoints. Tempers flare. Harsh words are used. Soon enough, you and several of your friends are engaged in a virtual shouting match, aiming insults in all directions, sometimes at people you’ve never even met.
There’s a simple reason this happens, it turns out: We respond very differently to what people write than to what they say–even if those things are exactly the same. That’s the result of a fascinating new experiment by UC Berkeley and University of Chicago researchers. In the study, 300 subjects either read, watched video of, or listened to arguments about such hot-button topics as war, abortion, and country or rap music. Afterward, subjects were interviewed about their reactions to the opinions with which they disagreed.