Labels: World Record
two stats that I found totally fascinating were "Average Words Per Sentence" and "% Complex Words," the latter defined as words with three or more syllables -- words like "ameliorate", "protoplasm" or "motherf***er." I've always thought that sentence length is a hugely determining factor in a reader's perception of a given work's complexity, and I spent quite a bit of time in my twenties actively teaching myself to write shorter sentences. So this kind of material is fascinating to me, partially because it lets me see something statistically that I've thought a great deal about intuitively as a writer, and partially because I can compare my own stats to
other writers' and see how I fare. (Perhaps there's a literary Rotisserie league lurking somewhere on those Text Stats pages.)So I spent a few hours last week plugging in the numbers for my books, as well as a few other authors that I assembled in an entirely unscientific fashion: Malcolm Gladwell, Steven Pinker, Seth Godin, Christopher Hitchens -- and then, just to see how far I'd come, I threw in my intellectual (and, sadly, stylistic) heroes from my early twenties, the post-structuralist legends Michel Foucault and Frederic Jameson. I compiled stats for 3-4 books for each author, except Gladwell who has written two, and then plotted them on a scatter chart, with the y axis representing % complex words and the x axis representing words per sentence.
So, according to this report, either the entire planet is vastly over taxed -- or we here in USA, speaking relatively, aren't shouldering such a bad tax burden after all . . .
"only in the last decade have researchers begun to measure happiness across the life span and, in doing so, try to understand why older people tend to be so content.The explanation doesn't appear to be biological - some chemical in the brain that mellows us just when all those plump neurons needed for thinking and memory are shriveling up. Rather, most scientists now think that experience and the mere passage of time gradually motivate people to approach life differently. The blazing-to-freezing range of emotions experienced by the young blends into something more lukewarm by later life, numerous studies show. Older people are less likely to be caught up in their emotions and more likely to focus on the positive, ignoring the negative."
Another idea of how to attract attention:
"This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce.
How much less likely?
I estimate between 35-50% less likely than Americans who attend church just nominally, just once or twice a year, or who don't attend church at all. It is true that people who say they've had a born-again experience are about as likely to divorce as people who are completely secular. But if you look at this through the lens of church attendance, you see a very different story".
Wilcox's research is also empirical evidence to support the traditional Christian notion that if you're religious, you will be much better off if you marry someone who shares your level of belief and religiosity. (Or as the Bible puts it: "Do not be unequally yoked.")
"Traditionally, social scientists have been quite hesitant to acknowledge a role for genes in explaining economic behavior. But a study by David Cesarini, a Ph.D. student in MIT's Department of Economics, and by colleagues in Sweden indicates that there is a genetic component to people's perception of what is fair and what is unfair".
Researchers found identical twins (they share the same genes) were more likely to play with the same strategy than fraternal twins. In fact, genetic influences account for as much as 40% of the people's perception of what is fair and what is unfair.
Labels: Human Nature