Ep. 22 - Prof. James Pennebaker: Writing Therapy, What the Words We Use Say About Us, and the Power of Pronouns

The Bigger Picture

Jan 16 2022 • 1 hr 10 mins


In today’s episode, I spoke with Prof. James Pennebaker, a social psychology professor from UT Austin. Needless to say, within the psychology community, Pennebaker is a well known name.

James is a pioneer in the field of writing therapy, where he has explored how writing about a past trauma can help people recover, as well as how the language we use can indicate the state of our mental health.

He then went on to explore how people use language differently. For instance, how gender and personality can affect the language we use.

One of the surprising things that emerged from James’s research is that the biggest differences between people’s use of language are actually to be found in their use of pronouns - those little words that no one quite pays attention to.

Interestingly enough, it’s precisely the way we use pronouns that can tell us a lot about who we are.