January 26, 2011

The Psychological Meaning of Words

The Psychological Meaning of Words: LIWC and Computerized Text Analysis Methods

Yla R. Tausczik and James W. Pennebaker

We are in the midst of a technological revolution whereby, for the first time, researchers can link daily word use to a broad array of real-world behaviors. This article reviews several computerized text analysis methods and describes how Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) was created and validated. LIWC is a transparent text analysis program that counts words in psychologically meaningful categories. Empirical results using LIWC demonstrate its ability to detect meaning in a wide variety of experimental settings, including to show attentional focus, emotionality, social relationships, thinking styles, and individual differences.

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