Are people getting more selfish?

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tgt
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For one thing, I have noticed that more people are using 'I' in their speech a lot of the time, even the lecturers. However, I have not lived long enough to observe any changes. Are people using 'I' more often then in the past. It certainly is the case that 'I' is used more ofen in songs which obviously will feed into daily speech.

However, it could be due to the reason that people are more defensive these days. It could be because people are more educated and aware that there are often more than one way to look at a matter. Hence they use 'I' to explicitly indicate it is their own view.
 
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  • #2
George Jones
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From 40 years ago

 
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  • #3
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I is the second most commonly used word in spoken English, and you is the third. I can remember learning that for the first time when I was in high school in the late 60's.

http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/bncfreq/lists/2_2_spokenvwritten.txt" [Broken]

Code:
word freq
the    39605
I        29448
you   25957
and   25210
it       24508
a       18637
 
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  • #4
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In general people love talking about themselves and receive attention.

That's the conclusion from Dale Carnegie's classic book "How to Win and Influence People"
 
  • #5
Moonbear
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I do think people have gotten more selfish, but I don't think it's reflected in speech patterns so much as behaviors and expectations.
 
  • #6
turbo
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I do think people have gotten more selfish, but I don't think it's reflected in speech patterns so much as behaviors and expectations.
Also, there are some people who are very well-off because their parents are wealthy, and they often assume an air of entitlement and class-snobbery that unwarranted and is quite infuriating to those of us who have earned what we have. They tend to be overly materialistic, and yes, selfish. Some may grow out of it, some may never learn, and some may grow bitter and disenchanted if the money-well dries up and they realize that their chosen life-style cannot be continued on the money they actually have to earn.

Selfish, greedy, materialistic behavior is glorified in pop culture and there are whole segments of our society that try their best to emulate their "role models". I do think it's getting worse over time - conspicuous consumption financed by debt seems to be a growing problem.
 
  • #7
JasonRox
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Also, there are some people who are very well-off because their parents are wealthy, and they often assume an air of entitlement and class-snobbery that unwarranted and is quite infuriating to those of us who have earned what we have.

This isn't new. It's been going on for a long time from what I heard. It's literally written in history books.

I'm not sure if people are getting more selfish (haven't been around long enough) but in general I do find people to be selfish for sure. Not only in a materialistic way, but also socially and emotionally.
 
  • #8
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Also, there are some people who are very well-off because their parents are wealthy, and they often assume an air of entitlement and class-snobbery that unwarranted and is quite infuriating to those of us who have earned what we have. They tend to be overly materialistic, and yes, selfish. Some may grow out of it, some may never learn, and some may grow bitter and disenchanted if the money-well dries up and they realize that their chosen life-style cannot be continued on the money they actually have to earn.

Selfish, greedy, materialistic behavior is glorified in pop culture and there are whole segments of our society that try their best to emulate their "role models". I do think it's getting worse over time - conspicuous consumption financed by debt seems to be a growing problem.

I agree with you all the way--

"I deserve" 'this' or 'that' seems to be implied behind a lot of it. "I want MORE for my children than my parents gave me" is another part--and the grown up 'children' continue that same thinking, especially with a credit card in hand. With so many of a first and/or second generation coming off an agrarian 'life style' (where it may have been less 'selfish') is adding to the "I, me, my" thing too of "more, more, more" in a city life style.
 
  • #9
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You don't think there is a link between use of the first person in sentences and selfishness. However, unfortunately your wife got wind of this thread and she has decided that you are too too selfish and always using the first person in your sentences and all. So from now on you are not allowed to use the first person at all. Thanks bunches PF, now life is going to be unbearable for you around here.
 
  • #10
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would it help to know that women speak about 10,000 words a day to a man's 500?
 
  • #11
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would it help to know that women speak about 10,000 words a day to a man's 500?

Why am i not surprised? :-)
 
  • #12
lisab
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would it help to know that women speak about 10,000 words a day to a man's 500?

Maybe it would also help to know that's not true. In fact, it's not even close:

The data suggest that women spoke on average 16,215 (SD = 7301) words and men 15,669 (SD = 8633) words over an assumed period of, on average, 17 waking hours.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/317/5834/82
 
  • #13
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Some people just like the sound of their own voice. Saying I alot doesn't mean a person is selfish, maybe just a bit self-centred! :rofl:
 
  • #14
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Woman Speak 20,00
Men Speak 500

If this is correct, which some people have raised some suspision I do not see how it relates to selfishness? Those numbers have no reflection on how selfish people are.
 
  • #15
BobG
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Maybe it would also help to know that's not true. In fact, it's not even close:



http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/317/5834/82

That study might be flawed:
A potential limitation of our analysis is that all participants were university students.
Being university students, a disproportionate number of the males were not married.
 
  • #16
lisab
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Being university students, a disproportionate number of the males were not married.

:rofl:

So, your point is that they hadn't yet been properly trained...?
 
  • #17
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:rofl:

So, your point is that they hadn't yet been properly trained...?

arf arf ARF----arf arf---ARF ARF!!!
 
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  • #18
BobG
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:rofl:

So, your point is that they hadn't yet been properly trained...?

Correct. Married men learn to never say anything that might upset their wife.
"What's in the garage?" "Nothing"
"How much did that nothing cost?" "Not much"
"Why is the savings account empty, then?" "Bank error?"
"And their error was letting you withdraw money?" "Yep"

And a properly trained man never asks his wife for a divorce. He knows that would upset her.
"Where are you going this time of night?" "To buy cigarettes"
"What are you talking about? You don't even smoke." "I lost my lighter"
"Oh, can you pick me up some tampons while you're out?" "Uh....:uhh:"
 
  • #19
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The data suggest that women spoke on average 16,215 (SD = 7301) words and men 15,669 (SD = 8633) words over an assumed period of, on average, 17 waking hours.
Those 15669 words for men break down as follows:
7833 Yes
7833 Dear
1 Where's
1 the
1 butter
 
  • #20
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"Once I didn't talk to my wife for six months,"



said the comedian.
"I didn't want to interrupt."


more:
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003420.html




this one below is really interesting:
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003420.html


TABLE 3: Words most characteristic of female speech
WORD MALES M % FEMALES F % 2
she 7134 0.42 22623 0.87 3109.7
her 2333 0.14 7275 0.28 965.4
said 4965 0.29 12280 0.47 872.0
n't 24653 1.44 44087 1.70 443.9
I 55516 3.24 92945 3.58 357.9
and 29677 1.73 50342 1.94 245.3
 
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  • #21
lisab
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Those 15669 words for men break down as follows:
7833 Yes
7833 Dear
1 Where's
1 the
1 butter

HA!! I knew a "yes dear" was coming :rofl: , I could just feel it!!! (Guess that means I've been married a long time...)
 
  • #22
BobG
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HA!! I knew a "yes dear" was coming :rofl: , I could just feel it!!! (Guess that means I've been married a long time...)

Ha! 13% of your words were "I"!

Not that that has anything to do with the topic..... Wait! It does! What a hijack of a thread!
 
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  • #24
Moonbear
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Also, there are some people who are very well-off because their parents are wealthy, and they often assume an air of entitlement and class-snobbery that unwarranted and is quite infuriating to those of us who have earned what we have. They tend to be overly materialistic, and yes, selfish. Some may grow out of it, some may never learn, and some may grow bitter and disenchanted if the money-well dries up and they realize that their chosen life-style cannot be continued on the money they actually have to earn.

Selfish, greedy, materialistic behavior is glorified in pop culture and there are whole segments of our society that try their best to emulate their "role models". I do think it's getting worse over time - conspicuous consumption financed by debt seems to be a growing problem.

Yep. One thing I sometimes am not able to discern very well is how much selfishness/materialism has actually increased, and how much of it is just that I'm exposed more often now to a different socioeconomic class than that with which I grew up. I grew up around blue collar workers, though did go to school with some "spoiled rich kids" who I really disliked because they were so stuck up. A gajillion years of education later, I'm now in the white collar group, and while I'm not rich, do earn enough to be in the group of people who I considered rich when I was growing up (it's all relative I guess). So, I'm not sure if I see more selfishness because I'm surrounded by more of those "spoiled rich kids" now, or if there really is an increase in spoiled kids overall.
 
  • #25
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I think being 'group orientated' (hanging around people of similar interests) is different than the "I, me, my" stuff----I would think some filter into the 'groups' though
 
  • #26
turbo
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Yep. One thing I sometimes am not able to discern very well is how much selfishness/materialism has actually increased, and how much of it is just that I'm exposed more often now to a different socioeconomic class than that with which I grew up. I grew up around blue collar workers, though did go to school with some "spoiled rich kids" who I really disliked because they were so stuck up. A gajillion years of education later, I'm now in the white collar group, and while I'm not rich, do earn enough to be in the group of people who I considered rich when I was growing up (it's all relative I guess). So, I'm not sure if I see more selfishness because I'm surrounded by more of those "spoiled rich kids" now, or if there really is an increase in spoiled kids overall.
It's impossible to quantify, Moonie. I was a poor kid growing up in a slum on the edge of a mill-town and my father had to work every hour he could get to keep us in food and clothes. Many of my friends whose mothers had been abandoned were trying to live on town aid, and they were 'way worse off than us. An old fellow across the road gave us a hand up by offering my dad his house at a give-away price when his daughter moved out and his wife was long-dead. I got the crappiest room in the house, but I glommed onto the books that he left. Verne, Dickens, Hawthorne, Twain, etc, etc. I read myself to sleep every night with a (cheaply bound) library that was to die for.
 
  • #27
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Perhaps it is another effect of our growing population, there is a lot more of all kinds of behaviour out there.
 
  • #28
I find many people don't listen to me when I speak. I often wait patiently for several minutes as a person goes on and on about something they just told me the day before. Then once I've uttered perhaps a dozen or so words it has reminded them of something they apparently must immediately interupt me and spend the next half hour telling me about. Sometimes they even turn to someone else and start a new conversation while I'm speaking. But maybe I'm just boring. :-/

(I=6/Me=4) ;-)
 
  • #29
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I find many people don't listen to me when I speak. I often wait patiently for several minutes as a person goes on and on about something they just told me the day before. Then once I've uttered perhaps a dozen or so words it has reminded them of something they apparently must immediately interupt me and spend the next half hour telling me about. Sometimes they even turn to someone else and start a new conversation while I'm speaking. But maybe I'm just boring. :-/

(I=6/Me=4) ;-)

that person (those people) probably is (are) that way with just about every person---

listening is a talent more than talking
 
  • #30
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That study might be flawed:

Being university students, a disproportionate number of the males were not married.


:rofl:
 
  • #31
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"Stuff" is less expensive than it used to be. Add to that, credit is far easier to obtain than it used to be, even 20 years ago. So people can indulge in an overabundance of consuming and owning more "stuff" than their parents could, who, by comparison, had to save money in order purchase belongings. Add to that a society that appears to value material goods as a measure of a person's worth, and I think you have a formula for people believing they're more important than they are.
 
  • #32
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I bet if you (you, meaning me, you, anyone read this) would, or could, avoid using "I, Me, and my" for a whole day in your normal environment-----NO ONE would notice----the reason being that everyone else that you'd be talking to would be so interested in what they themselves would be saying, they wouldn't 'catch' that someone around them is 'not' using the "I, Me, my, mine"
 
  • #33
And we should all speak in E-Prime while we're at it. ;-)
Certain turns of phrase used to avoid the no no words would likely give someone the impression that you are speaking differently though perhaps most would not be able to put their finger on the difference.
 
  • #34
tgt
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I bet if you (you, meaning me, you, anyone read this) would, or could, avoid using "I, Me, and my" for a whole day in your normal environment-----NO ONE would notice----the reason being that everyone else that you'd be talking to would be so interested in what they themselves would be saying, they wouldn't 'catch' that someone around them is 'not' using the "I, Me, my, mine"

the thing is people seem to notice it a lot each time the other person uses 'I' and it's usually of an unpleasant nature.
 
  • #35
tgt
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Saying I alot doesn't mean a person is selfish, maybe just a bit self-centred! :rofl:

what's the difference?
 

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