Kißler, J. e. (Juni2007). Buzzwords - early cortical responses to emotional words during reading. Psychological Science, S. 18(06) 475-80.
Neuroscientists, such as Johanna Kißler, regard “Buzzwords” as words, which are charged with a high emotional energy. These words may be perceived subjectively as pleasant or unpleasant, and move not just the psyche, but the body as well.
It is not just amazing how detailed the words can reflect the entire world in the brain, but it is also fascinating how our brain associates words with emotions – and what consequences these circumstances have for consciousness. Under the direction of the psychologist, Johanna Kißler, researchers at the University of Konstanz were able to find out on the basis of a reading experiment that our brain responds faster to the words, which have an emotional meaning for us, than the neutral words. This happens both in case of positive terms, such as, “love” and “success”, as well as in case of negatively charged words, such as, “fear/anxiety” or “jealousy”. The brain responds not only much faster to the emotional words, it also retains these words much longer in the memory after a person has read them. The brain responses to these words were more pronounced. The researchers assumed that the data stream caused by the words is guided on the path from the eyes to the speech center through the amygdala, and that this “amygdala” associates that word from our learning history with an emotion at a lightning speed. (Kißler, 2007 ) This enables the sequence of letters to activate feelings within the fraction of a second – when the brain identifies this formation of letters as a word. Although words are only abstract strings of characters, we respond to them with emotional impulses – as one would have reacted to a bear in the stone age or to a fully-laden apple tree. Here, the researcher Johanna Kißler speaks – as already mentioned at the start - of "Buzzwords” –, thus of words, which are interwoven in our nervous system with a stronger emotional energy in comparison to the neutral words.