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Relationship Between Personality Traits and Language Use in Self-narratives

Relationship Between Personality Traits and Language Use in Self-narratives

Hirsh, J. B., & Peterson, J. B. (2009). Personality and language use in self-narratives. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 524–527. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2009.01.006

In this article, the authors detail the findings of a study in which they used linguistic analysis to examine the relationship between personality traits and language use in self-narratives. Data were collected from 94 undergraduate students from a third-year undergraduate psychology class at the University of Toronto. The participants completed an automated writing program in which they created self-narratives that reflected past experiences or “epochs” in their lives (“past-authoring”) as well as future goals (“future authoring”), and were surveyed using the Big Five Aspects Scales. The data were analyzed by using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count text-analysis software, which categorized word usage into personal concerns and psychological word categories, determined frequency of word use within categories, and correlated the usage with the Big Five personality traits. The authors found that all categories of word choice were strongly associated with personality across various psychological domains. These findings support previous research in personality psychology. The authors recommended further research to examine how personality relates to how individuals’ life experiences are described.  

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