Disorders and Treatment
- Mental Illness
- Bipolar Disorder
- Mood Disorders
- Borderline Personality
- Mental Health Diagnosis
- Mental Health Treatments
- Alternative Meds
- Case Studies
Maybe you have noticed that many positively charged words contain the “i” sound (e.g., like, high), while many negatively charged words have an “o” sound (e.g. lonely, low).
Some scientists noticed this is true in many languages, and wondered why. Their research shows that the way our mouth forms vowels as we speak influences our feelings, and our feelings influence our word choices.
So, the link between what we say and how we feel is not just psychological, it is physical as well. Findings such as this are not only interesting, they remind us how integrated our mind-body experience is.
We each have a major mouth muscle called the zygomaticus. We use this muscle when laughing or smiling. Or, if you hold a pen between your teeth, so each end of the pen is pointing toward an ear, you are exercising your zygomaticus.
The zygomaticus muscle is also used to pronounce the vowel sound “i”.
We have another major mouth muscle called the orbicularis. We use this muscle when we purse our lips. Or, if you hold one end of a pen between your lips, as you would a cigar, you are exercising your orbicularis.
The orbicularis is also used to pronounce the vowel sound “o”.
In the research:
The investigators concluded that as people learn language, forming “i” sounds becomes associated with good feelings that prompt us to use more “i” sounding words. The “o” sound becomes associated with negative feelings and words.
This phenomenon is true in many languages because it is owed to the way humans use their facial muscles as they articulate words. The link between forming vowels, and our emotion and word choices is cross-cultural.
Everyday, and everywhere, the words we use reflect our feelings, and our feelings influence the words we choose. Our individual physical and emotional expressions are intimately connected, and this mind-body unity is universal.
Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Porsche Brosseau (@flickr)
The information provided on the PsyWeb.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of PsyWeb.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.