James W. Pennebaker

James W. Pennebaker
University of Texas at Austin | UT · Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

386
Publications
551,913
Reads
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58,955
Citations

Publications

Publications (386)
Article
Full-text available
To what degree can we determine people's connections with groups through the language they use? In recent years, large archives of behavioral data from social media communities have become available to social scientists, opening the possibility of tracking naturally occurring group identity processes. A feature of most digital groups is that they r...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The words that people use in everyday life tell us about their psychological states: their beliefs, emotions, thinking habits, lived experiences, social relationships, and personalities. From the time of Freud’s writings about “slips of the tongue” to the early days of computer-based text analysis, researchers across the social sciences have amasse...
Article
Full-text available
The mental health of college students is a growing concern, and gauging the mental health needs of college students is difficult to assess in real-time and in scale. To address this gap, researchers and practitioners have encouraged the use of passive technologies. Social media is one such "passive sensor" that has shown potential as a viable "pass...
Preprint
Full-text available
Lifelong experiences and learned knowledge lead to shared expectations about how common situations tend to unfold. Such knowledge enables people to interpret story narratives and identify salient events effortlessly. We study differences in the narrative flow of events in autobiographical versus imagined stories using GPT-3, one of the largest neur...
Article
Full-text available
The current research chronicles the unfolding of the early psychological impacts of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by analyzing Reddit language from 18 U.S. cities (200,000+ people) and large-scale survey data (11,000+ people). Large psychological shifts were found reflecting three distinct phases. When COVID-19 warnings first emerged (“warnin...
Article
Full-text available
Most scientists agree that climate change is the largest existential threat of our time. Despite the magnitude of the threat, surprisingly few climate-related discussions take place on social media. What factors drive online discussions about climate change? In this study, we examined the occurrence of Reddit discussions around three types of clima...
Article
Purpose Online reviews have been used by hearing aid owners to share their experiences and to provide suggestions to potential hearing aid buyers, although they have not been systematically examined. The study was aimed at examining the hearing aid consumer reviews using automated linguistic analysis, and how the linguistic variables relate to self...
Article
Objective To explore the publicised opinions of consumers actively participating in online hearing aid reviews. Design A retrospective design examining data generated from an online consumer review website (www.HearingTracker.com). Qualitative data (open text responses) were analysed using the open source automated topic modelling software IRaMuTe...
Article
TED talks are a popular internet forum where new ideas and research are presented by a wide variety of speakers. In this study, we investigated how the language used in TED talks influenced popularity and viewer ratings. We also investigated the differences in linguistic style and ratings of talks given by academics and non‐academics. The transcrip...
Article
Full-text available
Background / Introduction. This work explores the relationship between a person's demographic/psychological traits (e.g., gender, personality) and self-identity images and captions. Methods. We use a dataset of images and captions provided by N ≈ 1, 350 individuals, and we automatically extract features from both the images and captions. Results. W...
Article
Using archived social media data, the language signatures of people going through breakups were mapped. Text analyses were conducted on 1,027,541 posts from 6,803 Reddit users who had posted about their breakups. The posts include users’ Reddit history in the 2 y surrounding their breakups across the various domains of their life, not just posts pe...
Preprint
Full-text available
The mental health of college students is a growing concern, and gauging the mental health needs of college students is difficult to assess in real-time and in scale. While social media has shown potential as a viable "passive sensor" of mental health, the construct validity and in-practice reliability of such computational assessments remain largel...
Preprint
Full-text available
The mental health of college students is a growing concern, and gauging the mental health needs of college students is difficult to assess in real-time and in scale. While social media has shown potential as a viable “passive sensor” of mental health, the construct validity and in-practice reliability of such computational assessments remain largel...
Article
While language style is considered to be automatic and relatively stable, its plasticity has not yet been studied in translations that require the translator to “step into the shoes of another person.” In the present study, we propose a psychological model of language adaptation in translations. Focusing on an established interindividual difference...
Preprint
Full-text available
The initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the lives of people across the globe. The current research sought to understand how the pandemic affected people’s social and psychological states during the first three months after the first U.S. death was reported. How did people’s emotions, thought patterns, and social lives change as the pand...
Article
Full-text available
The huge power for social influence of digital media may come with the risk of intensifying common societal biases, such as gender and age stereotypes. Speaker’s gender and age also behaviorally manifest in language use, and language may be a powerful tool to shape impact. The present study took the example of TED, a highly successful knowledge dis...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: The barriers generally facing women wishing to pursue careers in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) in the United States have been well described. However, additional layers of cultural beliefs and needs may pose further obstructions to women in certain cultural subgroups who wish to ente...
Article
Full-text available
To date we know little about natural emotion word repertoires, and whether or how they are associated with emotional functioning. Principles from linguistics suggest that the richness or diversity of individuals' actively used emotion vocabularies may correspond with their typical emotion experiences. The current investigation measures active emoti...
Article
Full-text available
Scholars across disciplines have long debated the existence of a common structure that underlies narratives. Using computer-based language analysis methods, several structural and psychological categories of language were measured across ~40,000 traditional narratives (e.g., novels and movie scripts) and ~20,000 nontraditional narratives (science r...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns for many regarding personal and public health implications, financial security and economic stability. Alongside many other unprecedented challenges, there are increasing concerns over social isolation and mental health. We introduce \textit{Expressive Interviewing}--an interview-style conversationa...
Article
When people communicate with each other, their choice of what to say is tied to their perceptions of the audience. For many communication channels, people have some ability to explicitly specify their audience members and the different roles they can play. While existing accounts of communication behavior have largely focused on how people tailor t...
Article
Full-text available
Advances in mobile and wearable technologies mean it is now feasible to record hours to days of participant behavior in its naturalistic context, a great boon for psychologists interested in family processes and development. While automated activity recognition algorithms exist for a limited set of behaviors, time-consuming human annotations are st...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is often assumed that people who use rich emotional vocabularies are emotionally healthier than those who express themselves using a narrower range of emotion words. However, the relevant research relies on passive presentation of experimenter-generated emotion words. To date we know little about natural emotion word repertoires, and whether or...
Data
Poster available from here: https://osf.io/h8ypt/
Article
Full-text available
Individuals who are “strongly fused” with a group view the group as self-defining. As such, they should be particularly reluctant to leave it. For the first time, we investigate the implications of identity fusion for university retention. We found that students who were strongly fused with their university (+1 SD) were 7–9% points more likely than...
Preprint
Full-text available
Do in-class discussion groups lead to improved learning for individual group members? Analyses of over 1600 students’ language samples from 4800+ online discussion groups revealed that markers of linguistic engagement were highly predictive of academic outcomes.
Article
Narcissism is unrelated to using first-person singular pronouns. Whether narcissism is linked to other language use remains unclear. We aimed to identify linguistic markers of narcissism. We applied the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count to texts ( k = 15; N = 4,941). The strongest positive correlates were using words related to sports, second-perso...
Preprint
Full-text available
Narcissism is unrelated to using first-person singular pronouns. Whether narcissism is linked to other language use remains unclear. We aimed to identify linguistic markers of narcissism. We applied the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count to texts (k = 15; N = 4,941). The strongest positive correlates were: using words related to sports, second-perso...
Preprint
Full-text available
Narcissism is unrelated to using first-person singular pronouns. Whether narcissism is linked to other language use remains unclear. We aimed to identify linguistic markers of narcissism. We applied the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count to texts (k = 15; N = 4,941). The strongest positive correlates were: using words related to sports, second-perso...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Personal writings have inspired researchers in the fields of linguistics and psychology to study the relationship between language and culture to better understand the psychology of people across different cultures. In this paper, we explore this relation by developing cross-cultural word models to identify words with cultural bias-i.e., words that...
Article
Full-text available
Background Google searches are now a popular way for individuals to seek information about the significance of common symptoms and whether they should seek medical assistance. As analysis of search patterns may help understand the demand for medical care, we examined what times over a 24-hour period and on what days of the week people searched Goog...
Article
Full-text available
College students’ study strategies were explored by tracking the ways they navigated the websites of two large (Ns of 1384 and 671) online introductory psychology courses. Students’ study patterns were measured analyzing the ways they clicked outside of the regularly scheduled class on study materials within the online Learning Management System. T...
Data
Time-based component loadings. (DOCX)
Data
Correlations between overall clicking and demographic variables. (DOCX)
Data
Base rates and factor loadings for click location. (DOCX)
Data
Regression table for SAT and overall clicking as predictors of grade. (DOCX)
Data
Correlations with overall clicks SAT and grade. (DOCX)
Preprint
Full-text available
In this manual, we introduce a new version of the German adaptation of the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), called the DE-LIWC2015. The aim of the present work was to develop an update to the previous version of the German LIWC adaptation (Wolf et al., 2008) that corresponds to the LIWC2015 properties. The overall goal was to enable automa...
Article
From many perspectives, the election of Donald Trump was seen as a departure from long-standing political norms. An analysis of Trump’s word use in the presidential debates and speeches indicated that he was exceptionally informal but at the same time, spoke with a sense of certainty. Indeed, he is lower in analytic thinking and higher in confidenc...
Data
Supplementary Information for: Jordan, K. N., Sterling, J., Pennebaker, J. W., & Boyd, R. L. (2019). Examining long-term trends in politics and culture through language of political leaders and cultural institutions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201811987. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1811987116
Article
Full-text available
How is the natural language of feedback affected when instructors are White and learners are minorities? The present research addressed this question using a website called Feedback Forward through which White undergraduates provided extensive open-ended responses on a poorly written essay supposedly drafted by either a Black or a White fellow stud...
Preprint
Full-text available
Converging investigations on the part of multiple agencies/agents have provided overwhelming evidence for Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As a part (and consequence) of recent reports, multiple datasets that capture actions taken by actors of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), have been released to the public. In the c...
Preprint
Narcissism is virtually unrelated to using first-person singular pronouns (Carey et al., [2015] Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109). The degree to which narcissism is linked to other aspects of language use, however, remains unclear. We conducted a multi-site, multi-measure, and dual-language project to identify potential linguistic...
Article
Aims To understand what terms people seeking information about gout use most frequently in online searches and explore the psychological and emotional tone of these searches. Methods A large de‐identified dataset of search histories from major search engines was analyzed. Participants who searched for gout (n=1,117), arthritis (arthritis search co...
Article
Full-text available
The 2016 election provided more language and polling data than any previous election. In addition, the election spurred a new level of social media coverage. The current study analyzed the language of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton from the debates as well as the tweets of millions of people during the fall presidential campaign. In addition, agg...
Article
Full-text available
Depressive symptomatology is manifested in greater first-person singular pronoun use (i.e., I-talk), but when and for whom this effect is most apparent, and the extent to which it is specific to depression or part of a broader association between negative emotionality and I-talk, remains unclear. Using pooled data from N = 4,754 participants from 6...
Preprint
Full-text available
Depressive symptomatology is manifested in greater first-person singular pronoun use (i.e., I-talk), but when and for whom this effect is most apparent, and the extent to which it is specific to depression or part of a broader association between negative emotionality and I-talk, remains unclear. Using pooled data from N = 4,754 participants from 6...
Article
Full-text available
Background Previous research has shown a link between low positive affect and mortality, but questions remain about how positive affect is related to mortality and how this differs by gender and age. Purpose To investigate the relationships between positive affect, negative affect, and mortality in a general population sample, and to examine wheth...
Article
The 1997 Psychological Science paper “Writing About Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process” summarized the results of several expressive writing studies. Since the publication of the first expressive writing study in 1986, a number of discoveries had emerged that had both theoretical and clinical implications. The scientific and personal ba...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Humans upload over 1.8 billion digital images to the internet each day, yet the relationship between the images that a person shares with others and his/her psychological characteristics remains poorly understood. In the current research, we analyze the relationship between images, captions, and the latent demographic/psychological dimensions of pe...
Article
The results of the 2016 presidential election left many political scholars perplexed. Why was Donald Trump elected and what was his appeal? Does he represent a new way of thinking or is he merely an extension of trends that have long been in place? The answer to some of these questions may be found in the language of political figures from Trump ba...
Article
Full-text available
Personality is typically defined as the consistent set of traits, attitudes, emotions, and behaviors that people have. For several decades, a majority of researchers have tacitly agreed that the gold standard for measuring personality was with self-report questionnaires. Surveys are fast, inexpensive, and display beautiful psychometric properties....
Article
Full-text available
If you have to socially reject someone, will it help to apologize? Social rejection is a painful emotional experience for targets, yet research has been silent on recommendations for rejectors. Across three sets of studies, apologies increased hurt feelings and the need to express forgiveness but did not increase feelings of forgiveness. The invest...
Article
Full-text available
The ways we express ourselves in writing and speaking reveal who we are. Historically, most psychologists, social media experts, and even computer scientists have focused more on what people were saying rather than how they were saying what they were saying. Language content is, of course, critical to basic communication. Equally interesting is an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present a methodology based on topic modeling that can be used to identify and quantify sociolinguistic differences between groups of people, and describe a regression method that can disentangle the influences of different attributes of the people in the group (e.g., culture, gender, age). As an example, we explore the concept of personal value...
Conference Paper
The words people use in their conversations, emails, and diaries can tell us how they think, approach problems, connect with others, and their behaviors. Of particular interest are people's use of function words -- pronouns, articles, and other small and forgettable words. Processed in the brain differently from content words, function words reveal...
Article
Full-text available
The linguistic category model (LCM) seeks to understand social psychological processes through the lens of language use. Its original development required human judges to analyze natural language to understand how people assess actions, states, and traits. The current project sought to computerize the LCM assessment based on an idea of language abs...