Linguistic Analysis

Jamie Pennebaker, at the University of Texas, has found that writing or talking about emotional experiences (e.g., traumatic events, adjustment to college life) increases ones health and GPAs, leads to higher levels of re-employment following job loss, and decreases absenteeism, stress levels, depression and physician visits. Applying Pennebaker, Francis, and Booth's (2001) Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) analysis to the writings of emotional experiences, Pennebaker found several linguistic factors relate to mental and physical health. For example, healthier participants use more positive emotion words and more causal and insight words than less healthy participants. Go to his websites to learn more of his research:

http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/faculty/pennebaker/Pennebaker.html

http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/faculty/Pennebaker/Reprints/

Pennebaker, Mehl, and Niederhoffer (2003) suggest that examining the linguistic style of people in social interactions can be useful in understanding relationships. How people communicate with one another, independent of the content of what they are saying, offers us clues into their relationship. Chung and Pennebaker (in press) offer this illustration:

Person A: "I'd have to say that I like ice cream."
Person B: "The experience of eating a scoop of ice cream is certainly quite satisfactory."
Person C: "Yummy. Good stuff."

Although the same content is implied in these sentences above, the function words the speaker chose to use in expressing the content differ greatly. Examining these statements, we get clues about the relationship between the speaker and listener. One particularly useful function word category is first person singular pronouns. Chung and Pennebaker (in press) report that among dyads, the lower status, more subordinate, dyad member uses significantly more first person singular pronouns than the higher status, more dominant dyad member.

We have extended Pennebaker's work to determine if an examination of the function words group members use when communicating with one another as they perform a task can be useful in predicting group performance. We hope to be able to identify high and low performing groups by analyzing their linguistic style.
 
This power-point presentation, which was presented at the Command and Control Research Technology Symposium in June of 2006, provides an overall summary of our results.

 

Relevant Presentations
Dzindolet, M. T., & Pierce, L. G. (June, 2006). Using Linguistic Analysis to Identify High Performing Teams. Paper presented at the Command and Control Research Technology Symposium, San Diego, California.

Dzindolet, M. T., Stover, A., & Pierce, L. G. (September, 2005). Predicting Group Decision-Making with a Computerized Text Analysis Tool. Poster presentation at Human Factors and Ergonomics Society meeting, Orlando, Florida.

Dzindolet, M. T., & Pierce, L. G. (October, 2004). The Relationship between Word Use and Interactive Brainstorming Performance. Paper presented at the Society of Experimental Social Psychology Conference, Fort Worth, TX.

Batka, J., Beadles, E., Nakui, T. Faculty Sponsors: Mary T. Dzindolet and Paul Paulus (2004, April). Linguistic Style and Group Performance on a Brainstorming Task. Paper presented at the meeting of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Oklahoma Psychological Society, Edmond,
OK. THIS PAPER WON 3rd PLACE IN THE GRADUATE STUDENT PAPER AWARD ($50 AWARD)

Brenner, C., Wong, V., & Dzindolet, M. (2003, November). The relationship between linguistic analysis and performance on mixed-motive tasks. Poster session presented at Research Day for Oklahoma’s Regional Universities, Edmond, Oklahoma.

Beadles, E., Batka, J., Stover, A., Dzindolet, M., & Pierce, L. (2003, November). Linguistic style is related to face-to-face group performance on several different tasks. Poster session presented at Research Day for Oklahoma’s Regional Universities, Edmond, Oklahoma.

Beadles, E., Batka, J., Barker, W., Zhdanova, L., & Dzindolet, M. T. (2003, March). Using Linguistic Analysis to Predict Distributed Group Performance. Poster presented at the Llano Estacado Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.

Batka, J., Rosa-Ramirez, I., Barker, W., Malcolm, L., Purcell, L., & Dzindolet, M. (2002, October). Using Linguistic Analysis to Predict Group Performance. Poster session presented at Research Day for Oklahoma’s Regional Universities, Edmond, Oklahoma.

Baker, W., Abshere, J., & Dzindolet, M. (2002, October). The Relationship Among Language Use, Personality, and Problem Solving Performance. Poster session presented at Research Day for Oklahoma’s Regional Universities, Edmond, Oklahoma.

Purcell, L., Batka, J., Dzindolet, M. T., Rosa-Ramirez, I., Pierce, L., & Fleek, M. (2002, April). Linguistic style and brainstorming performance. Poster session presented at the 20th annual Oklahoma Psychological Society Spring Research Conference, Edmond, Oklahoma. THIS POSTER WON 1ST PLACE IN THE GRADUATE STUDENT POSTER COMPETITION ($125 AWARD)

Purcell, L., & Dzindolet, M. T. (2001, November). Relationship between group performance, satisfaction, and linguistic style. Poster session presented at Research Day for Oklahoma’s Regional Universities, Edmond, Oklahoma.

Purcell, L., & Dzindolet, M. T., & Pierce, L. (2001, November). Linguistic analysis of brainstorming groups. Paper presented at the 90th annual technical meeting of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, Lawton, OK.