Exploring indicators of psychological state in memoirs
Keywords: coping, writing, LIWC, biography, publication
Prof. Gerhard Lauer
CeDA collaborator: Rodrigo C. G. Pena
To investigate how biographical writing may help people cope with their own life experiences
To relate people's biographical writing with well known psychological indicators
To discover how the psychological indicators vary across different slices of the population (age, sex, etc.)
We employ the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software, considered the gold standard for research in the field of Language Psychology. It was created by Dr. James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas, to examine the therapeutic value of writing while capturing linguistic features of text. LIWC uses a dictionary of psychologically meaningful categories to deciphers patterns in language use that are indicative of a range of psychological and cognitive states. We may view the output of the LIWC software as a high-dimensional, vector description of a piece of text in terms of psychologically meaningful dimensions.