by Tanya Edwards
Paul Bradbury for Getty ImagesYou've heard about uptalkers, right? You know, people who pitch their voice at the end of a sentence so that their statement turns into a question? (See, I did it right there!) In pop culture, it's usually Valley Girls and ditzy women who use it...people being portrayed as the opposite of smart and successful. And yet, tons of us do this, myself included. (Guilty as...charged?)
If you're like me, you might feel a little silly about it--nobody likes living up to a negative female stereotype, after all. But there's good news: We can all relax. As The New York Times pointed out in a recent article, researchers at the University of California at San Diego studied uptalk and found that both women and men use it. "Men don't think they do it, but they do," Amanda Ritchart, a coauthor of the project, told the Times.
The study specifically looked at the way we give directions. While non-uptalkers offer declarative sentences when explaining how to get somewhere, the research showed that uptalkers (both male and female) used rises as a way of confirming that the listener understood what they were saying.
See more: 13 Sneaky Habits That Can Cause Acne
But uptalk goes beyond just wanting to be understood. The researchers also found that raising your pitch could serve a strategic purpose professionally (and personally, if you want to own the conversation) by "floor-holding"--a.k.a. when you anticipate being interrupted and continue to drive the conversation by uptalking.
Now, here's where the gender gap emerges. According to the study, women raised their voices to hold the floor nearly 60 percent of the time, while men did so just 28 percent of the time. Amalia Arvaniti, a coauthor of the study who is now head of the English language and linguistics department at the University of Kent in England, told the Times that the difference "could indicate that young women were generally interrupted more than men, and so it's a defense mechanism."
Defense mechanism or not, it's nothing to be ashamed of. According to sources quoted in the Times article, successful women are more likely to use uptalk, and in some cases, speaking "up" may actually be a sign of confidence.
Now isn't that interesting. Er, I mean...now isn't that interesting?
More from Glamour:
The Best Celeb Haircut for Your Texture
11 Dating Don'ts You Should Stop Doing Now
25 Celebrity Hairstyles That Will Make You Want Bangs
10 Wardrobe Essentials Every Woman Should Own