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ERIC Number: ED161775
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Pages: 37
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Positive and Negative Semantic Markers in Psychological Research: Does It Matter if Society Makes Love or War?
Wispe, Lauren G.
This paper describes a study of the relationship between terminology in psychological studies and prevailing social conditions at the time of the studies. It is proposed that researchers reflect societal concerns by their choice of semantic markers (terminology). Over 3,000 psychological studies from 1900-72 were analyzed in terms of their positive or negative orientation. Lists of all nouns and adjectives describing behavior within the studies were compiled. Studies were also categorized for their methodological orientation and whether they used animals, children, or adults as subjects. Results showed that (1) prior to 1920 the numbers of positively and negatively marked studies were equal, (2) since 1920 more negative than positive behavior studies have been conducted, (3) since 1970 positive behavior studies have increased, and (4) recently there has been an increase in experimental and psychotherapy studies using adult human subjects. These trends are discussed in terms of events such as the Depression, the Korean War, World War II, the Kitty Genovese murder, and growing drug and alcohol abuse. (MR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A