How to create a mood with words. It’s not just about meaning. Or even body language.

A team of psychologists and phoneticists based in Germany has tested the effects that vowel sounds have on our moods. And it turns out that “I” sounds (“hi”) generate positive moods and “O” sounds (“oh-no”) generate negative ones. The implication is that you can create a positive mood by using a lot of the former sounds and a negative mood with a lot of the latter.

But the researchers kept going, and the further results are a bit more complicated. It turns out that the way we screw up our faces when we make “I” sounds or “O” sounds also creates the same positive and negative moods.

So whether or not you’re making any sound, your facial expressions help determine your moods, and your reaction to things. Of course, we think it’s the other way around, because we don’t like to imagine that our bodies are in charge of our thoughts, but that’s what the neuroscience shows.
The point is that you need to be sensitive to the sounds you’re making when you’re telling a story or relating some key points in your speech. Use I sounds if you want audiences to react positively, and O sounds if you want the reverse.

Read more: Forbes

Speaking (1)Image source: Wikimedia Commons