Can you call yourself a “geek” or a “nerd” just because you feel like it? If you’re wondering if geeks and nerds are the same, they’re not. Geeks may be loosely defined as enthusiasts, obsessed with cool and trendy things. Nerds, on the other hand, are more intellectual and painstakingly focus on acquiring knowledge in a particular topic or field.
To prove this distinction, Burr Settles — data scientist, software engineer, and author of Active Learning — published the results of his experiment which illustrated words that accompany the terms geek and nerd.
Here are the results:
Words that accompany the term geek were plotted on the y axis, and nerdy words on the x axis. In general, orange words are geeky, blue words are nerdy. The affinity for these words to their terms increases further along the axes — that is to say that “culture” is more often associated with geeks than “collections”; “biochemistry”, “neuroscience” and “salary” are nerdier words compared to “exams” and “teachers”. Words along the x=y plotted line are just as geeky as they are nerdy.
Read Burr’s breakdown of his experiment on his blog, Slackpropagation.
So, are you a geek or a nerd?