Frequent use of words such as ‘really’, ‘so’ and ‘very' might indicate that one is stresses, reveals study.
The study involved 143 volunteers whose speech patterns were analysed, each of whom wore a voice recorder which was turned on every few minutes for two days.
During the research, Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona, who studied the recordings for the presence of any repeated words and expressions became particularly interested in the volunteers' use of pronouns and adjectives.
Next, he and a team of genomicists analysed participants’ psychological stress levels by looking at the gene expression in their white blood cells and in addition to finding that stressed participants were more likely to use adverbs, they also found that they were less likely to use third-person plural pronouns such as “their” and “they”.
According to Mehl, the reason behind this is when under pressure people tend to focus on themselves rather than thinking about those around them.
The study that was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that speech patterns were a better indicator of stress levels than a volunteer’s personal assessment.