We tend to think that the way we behave - including the way we talk - is because of our personalities, gender, or culture.
"I often use the analogy of a racetrack, to get people to think about the landscape or architecture of the encounters they’re involved in. So we start at the beginning of an encounter with our recipient or recipients, and then along the way… we complete projects of various kinds.
So if you imagine yourself at the supermarket checkout, then we kind of know the things that are likely to happen in conversation with the checkout person and that they’re a bit different from what might happen if you go to see your GP. If you’re on a first date – and I have studied people on first dates, so I can give you tips later if you need them – if you collect say 100 people on a first date, then the things that daters move through along the way are quite systematic. We tend to think, and again this is mostly psychology’s fault, that the way we behave - including the way we talk - is because of our personalities, or it’s because of our gender, or our culture. We reach for those variables before anything else. But in fact, we’re pushed and pulled around by grammar and words much more than we realize."
Read the full study from the British Psychological Association, here.