Of course we know our general behaviour says a lot about who we are, but did you know it even shines through in our messaging style? A recent study from the British Psychological Society looked at correlations between email behaviour and personality types, and we will discuss the most remarkable findings!
- People with a big picture focus – who focus less on tiny details – check their email more often outside of working hours than those with less of a big picture focus. These people check their email more often at times such as weekends and holidays they are more susceptible to stress. Which focus do you think you have?
- People with a more matter-of-fact focus are better at keeping work and private separately and they do less email work outside of their actual working hours.
- Managers, whichever personality type they have, are more likely to find emailing overwhelming and stressful. We at Psych2go think this might be because of the added responsibility that comes with an elevated position. Also, things like e-mail administration are more likely to steal time from more important tasks a manager might have, and therefore it leads to more stress.
- Different personalities had different reasons they found emailing a useful communication tool. More introverted people liked the fact that they could achieve the same effect as a direct call while getting more time to think about their words. Overall, participants liked that the other party did not have to be available immediately to make to communication work. This is of course, because an email can be read later, instead of a phone call that has to be picked up immediately. Another appreciated aspect of using email was the ability to read it back, as opposed to phone calls.
- Women were more likely than men to use words relating to emotions such as joy and sadness. Men were more likely to use words relating to fear or trust. It might be because particularly in Westernized societies, men who emote more are seen as “less” than women who emote more. Women are often seen as more emotionally intelligent, though we have not managed to find any reliable studies as to why or how this happens. It could be an actual difference, but it could also be something that depends how how a person was raised.
- Both women and men were more likely to use cheerful word when messaging a woman. This could be because men are often expected to behave sternly and dominantly in the workplace, which would leave less room for cheerful talk, but there has not been any further research on the reason why.
- When messaging women, men tended to use anticipatory language, such as “prepare” or “hope”. The causality of this relationship has not been studied yet.
- The more emails you handle, whether sending or receiving, leads to more stress (even if they aren’t specifically stressful emails). The added workload from menial tasks like email leaves less time for the more important tasks, which leads to more stress.
Want to learn more about psychology?
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British Psychological Society. “You’ve got mail: Personality differences in email use.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170106092945.htm>.