Grammar nazis are reputed for being meticulous when it comes to grammar. This trait of theirs might actually be indicative of a “less agreeable” personality, suggests a new study published in PLOS ONE.
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You are either one of them or you hate all of them — grammar Nazis. A new study based on psychological testing attempts to find what differentiates them from others. Those who tend to be sensitive to typos and grammatical mistakes are generally less open, and more likely to be judgemental, say the findings.
This is the first research linking personality traits with language interpretation, says lead author Julie Boland from the University of Michigan.
A group of 83 participants were asked to read email replies that either contained no errors or were modified to incorporate typos (“teh” instead of “the”) and grammar errors (“too” instead of “to”). They were then to judge the one who wrote the email in question based on how they perceived their intelligence, friendliness, and similar traits. They also had to say if, and how much, the grammatical errors annoyed them.
The results show that all of the participants rated the email-writer with typos and errors as worse than those with correct spelling. However, a proportion of them judged the typo-guys more harshly. For instance, introverts were more likely to judge them negatively than extroverts would, say the authors. Furthermore, those who were more sensitive to typos were those who were more conscientious but less open. Those described as having less agreeable personalities would also get more disturbed by the errors. According to the researchers, this is because less agreeable people have lower tolerance for deviations from the norm.