The purpose of this research was to undertake some analyses of how the language used in text messaging varies as a function of personality traits and the interpersonal context. After completing personality questionnaires, participants provided their most recent text messages and indicated their relationship with the message recipient on several dimensions. Correlations between Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) categories and personality traits and relationship status were examined. There were significant correlations between certain LIWC categories and extraversion (e.g., personal pronouns), neuroticism (e.g., negative emotion words) and agreeableness (e.g., positive emotion words), suggesting that personality traits are displayed in how one texts. One of the defining features of texting – linguistic alterations (e.g., abbreviations) – varied as a function of both personality traits and relationship status. Overall, the results provide a snapshot of what text messages look like, and how they reflect the texter’s personality and the interpersonal context.
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