The psychology of language: why are some words more persuasive than others?

This question may seem like an obvious one. Until we delve deeper into how our brains work and uncover some of the most compelling words in the English language.

Our brains when perceiving words

Lately, many paradigms have been disproved about how our brains process language. New research has led to rather startling and varied results. Most interesting is the University of London’s findings on how we separate words from intonation. Whenever we hear words, this is what happens: “The words move to the left temporal part of our brain for processing, while the melody is sent to the right side of the brain, which is more receptive to music.”

Thus, our brain uses two different zones to determine mood and then the actual meaning of words. The question is why we distinguish language so clearly from any other sound.

Researchers at the University of London have tried to find out exactly this. They played speech sounds, and then non-speech sounds that were similar to human speech. By measuring brain activity, they discovered an interesting fact: “Speech was isolated for special processing near the primary auditory cortex.” In short, our brain can magically isolate language from any other sound and transport it to the right side of our brain to make sense of it.

What aspects of speech should you pay attention to?

Smile: Most Positive Emotional Gesture
There are, of course, a number of other powerful elements to consider when it comes to speech. One of the most important ones that researcher Andrew Newberg reveals in his book Words Can Change Your Brain is the facial expressions we show. Nyberg explains why Mona Lisa’s meaningful smile has become one of the most famous paintings around the world: “We know that smiling is a very powerful gesture; we carried out scientific research, looking at various symbols, and the smiley turned out to be with the most positive emotional content.

Speak no more than 30 seconds during a conversation
Another element in the concept of a language process is the number of words that we need to process. Of course, we know that this is as something obvious, and yet it is always like a reminder: the human brain can really only hold up to four things at a time, so if you continue to try to argue the point of view for 5 or 10 minutes, the interlocutor will remember a very small part of it.

While 30 seconds is the optimal amount of time for us to speak up, Nyberg says, “To be short is to say one or two sentences, because that’s really what the human brain can perceive.”

Avoid adjectives in speaking and writing
Sometimes I try not to use adjectives in speaking and writing. They are, in fact, one of the worst elements of speech that the listener or reader loses trust when used. Writer Kim Peres explains, “Using fewer words builds trust. Any words that do not convey meaning can undermine the interest of our readers and listeners.

There are three things to keep in mind when using the language:
Ability to ask questions: “What would you do?”
One of the best journalists and now entrepreneur Evan Ratliff put it this way: “All that really saves me (so far) from insanity is the ability to formulate questions that provide useful answers.” He says that any questions that start with who, what, when, how, why will get a fuller answer. On the contrary, would, should, do you think should be avoided, as they can limit the intended response.

Refusal to use “is”
It’s super interesting. A. Korzybski, the creator of general semantics, was firmly convinced that the verbal forms to be (I am, he is, they are, we are) contribute to insanity. Why? Simply because one cannot be exactly equal to something else.

In the examples below, you can see the difference between the statements:

He is an idiot and He acted like an idiot in my eyes.

She is depressed and She looks depressed to me (She is depressed – She looks depressed, I think).

I am convinced that and It appears to me that (I am convinced that … – It seems to me that …).

Using the top 5 most persuasive words in the English language:
you, because, free, instantly, new

And a quick last fact: Make three positive comments for each negative sentence, and for each negative argument, come up with three positive ones. Andrew Newberg, according to the results of the study, suggested that negative arguments have very harmful effects on our brains. We must pay special attention to them so as not to let them get the better of us, – “when you discuss any specific problem with someone, the ratio of three to one is the possibility of a more constructive dialogue and a better solution to the problem.”