Thursday, August 18, 2011

Small words

The test Your "I" Exam:Is your social vision 20/20? . I scored four out of ten but having recently read some books on cognitive dissonance, guessed the score.

From What Your Choice of Words Says about Your Personality:
"No one doubts that the words we write or speak are an expression of our inner thoughts and personalities. But beyond the meaningful content of language, a wealth of unique insights into an author’s mind are hidden in the style of a text—in such elements as how often certain words and word categories are used, regardless of context.
It is how an author expresses his or her thoughts that reveals character, asserts social psychologist James W. Pennebaker /a> of the University of Texas at Austin. When people try to present themselves a certain way, they tend to select what they think are appropriate nouns and verbs, but they are unlikely to control their use of articles and pronouns. These small words create the style of a text, which is less subject to conscious manipulation."

Language Log post with a contribution by James Pennebaker
What is "I" saying?

Another Language Log post Little words with an appendix on "Linguistic Structure Matching"

Recent Scientific American interview with James Pennebaker The Secret Language Code via MindHacks

It is a young science with some potential:"Several labs, including ours, have now conducted studies to evaluate the prospect of building a linguistic lie detector. The preliminary findings are promising. In controlled studies, we can catch lying about 67% of the time where 50% is chance. Humans, reading the same transcripts, only catch lying 53% of the time. This is actually quite impressive unless you are a person in the judicial system. If you are waiting for a language-based system to catch real world lying at rates of 90 or 95 percent of the time, it won’t happen in your lifetime. It’s simply too complicated."

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