Bad Grammar Triggers “Fight or Flight” Response

For many, bad grammar can be maddening. Now, experts have discovered that it really does cause a physical reaction, even affecting our heart rate. Instances of bad grammar can include mixing up tenses within a sentence, confusing the singular with plural, using a double negative, or misusing a comma. Researchers from University of Birmingham in the UK recorded participants’ heart rate variability (HRV) as they listened to grammatical errors. Analysis revealed that the more errors a person heard, the more their heart rate increased — a sign of stress. It’s now believed that grammatical errors appear to activate the “fight or flight” response within the human body. In some cases, the body reacted to bad grammar even when the subject couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was wrong within a sentence. It has been noted in the past that when it comes to social media, if a profile has spelling mistakes, the more likely it is that the person will be perceived as being less intelligent. Researchers now say that the intricate relationship between physiology and cognition opens new pathways for exploring how the body works.