So, um, like, you know people, like, that talk with all these pauses and using phrases like “I mean” and “you know?”
Well, they’re awesome — and science backs that up. Sort of.
According to a new study from the University of Texas titled “Um … Who Like Says You Know: Filler Word Use as a Function of Age, Gender and Personality,” using those “filler words” suggests the person is thoughtful and conscientious and cares about the honesty of their speech.
The study was conducted to decipher how filled pauses like “um” and “uh” and discourse markers like “I mean,” “like,” and “you know” vary among two demographics: Age and gender.
Results suggest the use of filler words can be also be considered a potential social and personality marker.
One commenter on the paper put it like this:
“The researchers believe the explanation is that “conscientious people are generally more thoughtful and aware of themselves and their surroundings,” and their use of discourse markers shows they have a “desire to share or rephrase opinions to recipients.” Stated slightly differently, discourse fillers are a sign of more considered speech, and so it makes sense that conscientious people use them more often.
Now no one can make fun of you for those pauses and repetitive wording of ideas. And if someone else makes fun of you for using them, tell them that, scientifically speaking, you’re a better person than they are. In other words: Keep on, uh, you know, keeping on!
People who still use “irregardless,” however, may be kicked into the pit of death at will.
Credit: Jonathan Muñoz