You might think that using big, fancy words will make you sound smart, but it can actually have the complete opposite effect.
Photo by Mike Burns
It’s good to emphasise what you know when you’re trying to sound intelligent, but the way you talk about it matters. A study led by Daniel M. Oppenheimer at Princeton University, and published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology suggests that using long, academic-sounding words instead of simple, more easily-understood words makes people think you’re less intelligent. The study’s participants found that the more they could actually understand what was being communicated, the more intelligent they considered the message.
Essentially, the more complicated language you try to use, the higher the chance it will backfire on you. You might come off sounding like a phony, or like someone who isn’t intelligent enough to understand their audience. Keep things simple and focus on getting your message across, not trying to sound impressive.
Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilised Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly [the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology via Business Insider]