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How do the words you use reflect your personality, psychological states, and social groups? I have studied, for example, how word use differs between winning and losing presidential candidates, between successful and failed dieters, and between collectivists and individualists.
One line of my research focuses on the use of words that people can't readily manipulate. Function words (e.g. articles, prepositions, pronouns, etc.) are markers of linguistic style. They tend to be more reliable markers in detecting personality traits and psychological states than are regular content words (e.g. nouns, regular verbs, etc). My second line of research focuses on extracting statistical patterns of word use in order to track topics over time, across cultures, and in multiple languages. All of my work involves the development and application of computerized text analysis tools.
Most experimental and clinical psychologists, market researchers, or forensic investigators have verbal, open-ended data recorded from past studies, or now have access to natural language samples online. My research seeks to enhance work in these areas by offering a fast, reliable, and ecologically valid way of assessing individuals and their social worlds.
The Psychology of Word Use in Depression Forums in English and in Spanish
as coauthor at 2nd International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), Seattle 2008,
together with: James W. Pennebaker (coauthor), Nairan Ramírez-Esparza, Ewa Kacewicz (coauthor),