"...um, like, you know..."

I was like wha? Then I was like yeah, I guess. Then I was like "Dang!" Then I was like bored.

They're called verbal tics or speech fillers and we all use them. They're what we say when we don't know what else to say. Things like um or like or you know.

The More You Know
There are pundits out there who believe that 130 uses of the phrase you know in a 2009 New York Times interview sunk Caroline Kennedy's chances for assuming Hillary Clinton's senate seat.

The question is, why You Know?

What is it in the collectively unconscious zeitgeist that causes so many native-english speaking Americans to span a conversation chasm with the phrase you know?

Linguists advise us to record ourselves to hear how many times we may actually say it, implying that we don't know when we use it.

Think about that for a second. There are words coming out of your mouth that you aren't even aware of.

The Lizard Brain strikes again...?

Nelson Cohen of the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri has a theory. In his 1991 research paper, Recurrent Speech Patterns as Cues to the Segmentation of Multi-Syllabic Sequences, he states:

First and second language acquisition require that speech be segmented into familiar multiphonemic units. The present research examines one segmentation cue that is of considerable theoretical interest: the repetition of fixed sequences of speech.

Um, yeah, like what he said, you know...