Friday, April 13, 2007

Big Talk

At the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count web site, you can paste some text into a box and get an instant analysis. I pasted my last blog entry in there and this is what it said:

Details of Writer: 34 year old Male
Date/Time: 13 April 2007, 7:23 am

LIWC dimensionYour dataPersonal textsFormal texts
Self-references (I, me, my)1.6211.44.2
Social words6.639.58.0
Positive emotions1.472.72.6
Negative emotions1.622.61.6
Overall cognitive words6.637.85.4
Articles (a, an, the)
Big words (> 6 letters)21.3513.119.6

The text you submitted was 679 words in length. Generally, the more words in a text, the better. Ideally, it is best if you have at least 100 words to analyze. In the table, the average word usage of highly personal texts (e.g., where people write about emotional experiences) and more formal texts (e.g., descriptions of objects or events) are presented. The numbers refer to the percentage of total words that were submitted. So, if the table reports a 11.4 for self-references, that means that 11.4% of the words in the text were self-references. In the space below, we briefly describe each of the LIWC categories:

Self-references: People who use a high rate of self-references tend to be more insecure, nervous, and possibly depressed. They also tend to be more honest.

Social words: Social words are words that make reference to other people (e.g., they, she, us, talk, friends). Generally, people who use a high number of social words are more outgoing and more socially connected with others.

Positive emotion words: The more that people use positive emotion words (e.g. happy, love, good), the more optimistic they tend to be. If you feel good about yourself, your more likely to see the world in a positive way.

Negative emotion words: Use of negative emotion words (e.g., sad, kill, afraid) is weakly linked to people's ratings of anxiety. People who have had a bad day are more likely to see the world through negatively-tinted glasses.

Overall cognitive words: These are words that reflect how much people are actively thinking about their writing topic. Examples include: thinking, wonder, because, knowledge.

Articles: The three article words - a, an, and the - account for a large percentage of the words we use. People who use articles at a high rate tend to be more concrete and impersonal in their thinking.

Big words (words with more than 6 letters): Use of big words is weakly related to higher grades and standardized test scores. People who use a high rate of big words also tend to be less emotional and oftentimes psychologically distant or detached.

So it turns out that I like using articles and big words, making me concrete, impersonal and detached, and I don't make many self-references. I guess it depends on the blog entry in question. And I thought I was a pretty emotional guy!

In other news - I am growing a beard. I look like a contestant on Survivor. It started off as a skin infection (probably a shaving cut) so I laid off shaving for a couple of weeks. It's got past the itchy stage now. I may keep it for a while. Beards are very 1970s.

1 comment:

matty said...

I want to do this and see what it says about me!

...or, maybe, not. Maybe I don't wanna know!


Well, beards are hot! As we all witnessed watching both PRETTY IN PINK and CARRIE back to back at The Castro --- the dudes in the 70's had it down! We all looked so dorkish in the 80's and now we all look kind of bland.

We need more facial hair, flare leg'd pants and disco music. Good for the soul.