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ERIC Number: EJ1050286
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
From "Sooo Excited!!!" to "So Proud": Using Language to Study Development
Kern, Margaret L.; Eichstaedt, Johannes C.; Schwartz, H. Andrew; Park, Gregory; Ungar, Lyle H.; Stillwell, David J.; Kosinski, Michal; Dziurzynski, Lukasz; Seligman, Martin E. P.
Developmental Psychology, v50 n1 p178-188 Jan 2014
We introduce a new method, "differential language analysis" (DLA), for studying human development in which computational linguistics are used to analyze the big data available through online social media in light of psychological theory. Our open vocabulary DLA approach finds words, phrases, and topics that distinguish groups of people based on 1 or more characteristics. Using a data set of over 70,000 Facebook users, we identify how word and topic use vary as a function of age and compile cohort specific words and phrases into visual summaries that are face valid and intuitively meaningful. We demonstrate how this methodology can be used to test developmental hypotheses, using the aging positivity effect (Carstensen & Mikels, 2005) as an example. While in this study we focused primarily on common trends across age-related cohorts, the same methodology can be used to explore heterogeneity within developmental stages or to explore other characteristics that differentiate groups of people. Our comprehensive list of words and topics is available on our web site for deeper exploration by the research community.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A