Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly.

0615001037-300x225.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

"Most texts on writing style encourage authors to avoid overly-complex words. However, a majority of undergraduates admit to deliberately increasing the complexity of their vocabulary so as to give the impression of intelligence. This paper explores the extent to which this strategy is effective.  Experiments 1-3 manipulate complexity of texts and find a negative relationship between complexity and judged intelligence. This relationship held regardless of the quality of the original essay, and irrespective of the participants' prior expectations of essay quality. The negative impact of complexity was mediated by processing fluency. Experiment 4 directly manipulated fluency and found that texts in hard to read fonts are judged to come from less intelligent authors. Experiment 5 investigated discounting of fluency. When obvious causes for low fluency exist that are not relevant to the judgement at hand, people reduce their reliance on fluency as a cue; in fact, in an effort not to be influenced by the irrelevant source of fluency, they over-compensate and are biased in the opposite direction."

stop_using_big_words-1024x682.jpg

Thanks to David for today's ROFL! Related content: Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Humor and death: a qualitative study of The New Yorker cartoons (1986-2006). Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Top 5 insensitive titles! Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Read [pause] thee uh abstract. WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In