Fascinating — and I Should Know ruthpennebaker February 12, 2010 Do check out this fascinating psychological research (and researcher) here.
Wow! Fascinating is the word. Is there a kind of Hippocratic Oath in your household, forbidding him from using this technique on family members? There would be in mine …
Do they have a tool to analyze blog posts yet?
Very cool indeed. Apparently I’m very angry on my Twitter posts and “valley girtl”. Who knew? (actually, it’s spot on).
When he accepts that MacCarthur grant I can say I knew him when he was just a mere juvenile delinquent
Thanks for sharing. Interesting to know how Dr. Pennebaker amuses himself when not babysitting his neurotic, long-johned wife.
I wonder, can this software detect the difference between lying and fiction?
Winston, you ask a good question. In general, we do a reasonably good job at telling the difference between lying and truth-telling and between fiction and nonfiction. I’m guessing that there are some features of language that can distinguish lies from fiction as well. The art form is to find lies (especially malicious ones) that have the same narrative structure as fiction so that we can have a good head-to-head comparison.
So the answer is yes, sort of, maybe.
I expected a defense of my not being neurotic and long-johned.
Ruth, perhaps the above answer IS a defense, yes, sort of, maybe.
What we need to do is comb through literature, classical and popular, and find examples of literary characters who lie, with a control group made up of characters from the same works who speak honestly. The results might also tell us about authors: are some more proficient at creating a liar than others? Does an author’s style have anything to do with convincing the reader?
Winston, have you thought of becoming a social psychologist? We have done this very thing in terms of the ways playwrights and screenwriters write dialogue for men versus women. Turns out most authors tend to write characters of the opposite sex a lot like their own sex. Shakespeare’s Juliet uses language like a guy; Nora Ephron’s men talk like women.
Maybe really honest authors have their lying characters speak in an honest way. Who knows? But it’s a great question.
Oh, and Ruth isn’t nearly as neurotic as she aspires to be and she looks fabulous in long-johns.
A social psychologist? Thanks, but I’ll just remain a social butterfly.
Ruth? A failure at neuroticism? You’re going to drive her over the edge.
And as for long-johns, every fashion niche has its devotees, I suppose.
Come get your kicks, on route stitchity-stitch!
Deb — See http://analyzewords.com/.