Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fun with linguistics

Fun human interest piece in the NYTimes today about a psychology professor - Dr. James W. Pennebaker - at the University of Texas and his foray into the systemized analysis of linguistics. This was the part that interested me most:
Health improvements were also seen among people whose use of causal words —
because, cause, effect — increased. Simply ruminating about an experience
without trying to understand the causes is less likely to lead to psychological
growth, he explained; the subjects who used causal words “were changing the way
they were thinking about things."

Pennebaker litterally counts the frequency of individual words and then analyzes the patterns that unfold.

For more juicy tidbits along these lines, check out his blog on the candidate's use of language in the 2008 election here.

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