Research: For a happier life, just shut up and text
Cornell University's Jeffrey Hancock's research is beginning to prove that texting is a far more honest means of communication than, um, talking.
There's a movie out at the moment about what the world would be like if none of us could see a thing. It's called Blindness and it's very disturbing.
But there's another disturbing movie that plays in my head just about every day. It's called Shut Up!!!!! and it's the story of a world in which everyone just closes their voluble cakeholes, emitting not one sound. When the characters have something to say, they text.
This movie is disturbing because it is so immensely uplifting and soothing.
Now I am pleased to announce that this movie's controversial premise may well be supported by very important scientific research.
Jeffrey Hancock of Cornell University has been rather keen on truth and lies in communication for some time. His latest study seems to suggest not only that text communication is much quieter than yakking, but that it's just as emotion-filled.
However, the real human joy encapsulated in his findings is that text communication is simply more honest. The logic of this heartening finding you may find shocking.
You see, when you text, you have a vital couple of seconds to think before you communicate a mendacious ton of bilge.
Yes, just as the best quarterbacks could always use a couple more seconds before they throw the ball (unless they play for the San Francisco 49-ers, where an extra hour doesn't seem to help), we need a couple more seconds to express ourselves in a more honest and sensitive way.
Hancock even suggests that texting allows us extra time to "feel the moment," so that our words, albeit written, match both our mood and that of the recipient far more harmoniously.
In his latest Text Test, Hancock had 44 pairs of humans get to know each other by text. However, he threw in a little sneaky (oh, but not dishonest) curveball, in that he made some of the participants watch a particularly sad scene from that tear-teaser of a movie, Sophie's Choice, before the communication began.
Apparently, those texting with the Sophie's Choicers actually felt sadder themselves after the 20 minutes of texting interaction, suggesting, according to the researchers, that they had formed a real bond.
However, might this not merely suggest that texting a miserable old git makes you more miserable? Just as talking to a miserable old git makes you more miserable too?
Still, let's try and agree with Hancock that texting might well be a better, more honest mode of communication--one that allows us, perhaps, to create a closer union with the communicatee.
Perhaps it also helps us understand why so many people dump their lovers by text these days.