Why is it that some people instantly come off as kind and caring while others present themselves like know-it-all jerks? There are many cues we use to size people up: the way they talk, their intonation, their body language, their facial expressions and even the way they walk.

But even in the absence of physical characteristics, visual queues and even just sound, language alone can quickly provide incredibly accurate insights into a person’s personality, mindset, motivations and inclinations.

It’s the words that we don’t choose that reveal the most

Language is how we convey our thoughts so that others can understand what we’re thinking. While we tend to think that we typically pick our words quite carefully, the majority of the words we use in everyday conversation aren’t ones that we consciously choose to use at all. In his book, The Secret Life of Pronouns, Jamie Pennebaker (our Chief Scientist) describes it best:

“Pronouns, articles, prepositions, and a handful of other small, stealthy words reveal parts of your personality, thinking style, emotional state, and connections with others. These words, typically called function words, account for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of your vocabulary but make up almost 60 percent of the words you use.”

With less than 1 percent of our vocabularies being comprised of function words, the remaining 99 percent are called content words – the nouns, verbs and adjectives that describe what we’re talking about to the people we’re communicating with.

What do Kanye’s words reveal?

So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at a rather polarizing personality and see what his words say about him. While you can watch the video and judge him for yourself, it’ll still take you a couple of minutes to watch and your perception will be influenced by more than just words – you’ll likely also base your judgement on his tone, facial expressions and body language. Receptiviti, on the other hand, analyzes personality and thinking style in just a fraction of a second by focusing primarily on function words – and without taking into account any non-language cues.

Here’s what we found:

Kanye's wordsIntense drive: Tends to be hard driving, competitive, with a sense of time urgency. They can also show signs of hostility when threatened.
Impulsive:  Tends to be impulsive and makes decisions quickly — often without thinking through the consequences of their actions. They may be considered a free spirit who enjoy living in the here-and-now without regard to the future.
Disagreeable: Likely often seen as critical, uncooperative, and even rude. Is likely a straight shooter and speaks their mind.

 Kanye 2015 MTV Awards

Want to try it for yourself? 

It’s super-easy: Here’s a transcript of Kanye’s speech, and here’s a link to a video of his speech (if you’re so inclined). Copy the speech transcript and run it through Receptiviti by pasting it in the text box (you can register for a free account to analyze more than 500 words), and see the results for yourself.