Do extraverts love adjectives?

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To what extent does the wording and syntactic form of people’s writing reflect their personalities? Using a bottom-up stratified corpus comparison, rather than the top-down content analysis techniques that have been used before, we examine a corpus of e-mail messages elicited from individuals of known personality, as measured by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised (S. Eysenck, Eysenck, & Barrett, 1985). This method allowed us to isolate linguistic features associated with different personality types, via both word and part-of-speech n-gram analysis. We investigated the extent to which extraversion is associated with linguistic features involving positivity, sociability, complexity, and implicitness and neuroticism is associated with negativity, self-concern, emphasis, and implicitness. Numerous interesting features were uncovered. For instance, higher levels of extraversion involved a preference for adjectives, whereas lower levels of neuroticism involved a preference for adverbs. However, neither positivity nor negativity was as prominent as expected, and there was little evidence for implicitness.

Source: “Language With Character: A Stratified Corpus Comparison of Individual Differences in E-Mail Communication” from Discourse Processes, Volume 42, Issue 3 November 2006 , pages 239 – 270

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