Discover the Secret Life of Pronouns with Dr. James Pennebaker

August 29th, 2012

What you say and how you say it reveals more about you than you might expect.  Listen to Dr. James Pennebaker, a social psychologist and language expert describe his groundbreaking research in how the Secret Life of Pronouns we use, often without any thought provides insights into our feelings, our self concept and our likelihood of success in relationships.   Our most functional language usage is a profound reflection of our inner world and a doorway to understanding the complex and mysterious relationships that make our life meaningful.  Don’t miss this compelling and surprising conversation that will make you listen more closely to everything you say

James Pennebaker is the author of  The Secret Life of Prounouns:  What our words say about us is a  Regents Centennial Liberal Arts Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He’s a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and a consultant to businesses, medical schools, and various federal agencies that address corporate and national security issues. Pennebaker is the author or editor of 10 books including Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotion and Writing to Heal, which focused on expressive writing and almost 300 scientific articles and he ranks among the most cited researchers in psychology, psychiatry, and the social sciences.

Pennebaker’s early research examined the ways people can deal with secrets and traumatic experiences by writing or talking about them.   This work led to his discovery that people could improve their physical and mental health by writing about their deepest secrets, which is now widely known as expressive writing.   His most-cited studies found that if people are asked to write about an emotional upheaval for as little as 15-minutes a day for 3-4 days, significant improvements in physical and mental health follow.  The expressive writing research led to his developing a computer text analysis program, LIWC, to efficiently analyze the writing samples.

Most recently, he’s become intrigued by how people reveal themselves in their everyday spoken and written language. His most recent research seeks to uncover links between low-level word use, personality, and broader human behaviors, including deception, status, group dynamics, and emotional states. Author or editor of 10 books and over 250 articles, Pennebaker has received numerous research and teaching honors and has had continuous funding from NSF, NIH, DOD, and other federal agencies for over 30 years.

Jamie grew up in Midland, Texas. He has been married to the accomplished writer Ruth Pennebaker since 1972. His daughter Teal works in communication and public policy in Washington, D.C. and his son Nick is involved in oil and gas exploration in Austin, Texas.

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