I read about a really interesting study recently that could have a big impact on the way we write…and the way we live.
According to this study, a group of people were shown a video of a car accident. Then, a week later, the group was broken up into two smaller groups and asked to describe the crash. Specifically, group A was asked to describe how the cars “hit” each other, while group B was asked to describe how the cars “smashed” into each other.
The members of group A gave general, straight to the point descriptions of what they saw. Group B, on the other hands, gave vivid descriptions of the accident and even “remembered” details that were not in the original video.
Why? Simply because the word “smashed” stirs the mind much more than the word “hit.” This is true in so many instances. For example, the word “smacked” has almost an audible feeling to it. The work “yanked” has a much more violent sound than the word “pulled.” Even words like “stumbled” creates a better picture when compared to a simpler word like “fell.”
This is so important for writers to remember! It can enable us to create a great image in our reader’s mind with just a word, instead of having to ramble through a long sentence.
Of course, the application to real life is just as powerful, because the words we use day to day really impact us. For example, when we apply phrases like, “This day is going to kill me!” we are actually making the day even harder. The circumstances probably won’t kill us, but our mind is now convinced that we won’t be able to handle what we have to deal with. It has been proven that people who say things like, “This is hard, but I’m sure I can handle it,” actually deal better with life. Strange, but true. :)
So, whether you’re writing or just living, what words are you using today?