Perspective

Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

More on the UK election

The UK election is almost upon us, er, them. If I were a Brit, I'm not sure who I'd vote for - maybe Clegg. I saw an interesting blogpost at Wordwatchers (hat tip to New Scientist) that may be of some interest to undecided voters. Here's just a bit of it ....

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The Third UK Debate: Assessing Optimism, Honesty, and Thinking Styles

[...] the words people use in everyday speech reflects who they are. Of particular relevance are a group of words called function or junk words. These almost-invisible words include pronouns (such as you, me, they), articles (a, an, the), prepositions (for, with, to), etc. The ways people use these words can tell us about speakers’ emotional states, formality, honesty, thinking styles, and other dimensions of how they approach their worlds ..... Over the last 10 years, more than a dozen studies of all kinds have analyzed the language of honesty and deception. At least five language dimensions are reliably linked with honesty and another 3-4 are associated with lying. People are more likely to be telling the truth if a) their sentences are longer and more complex, b) they use I-words more (e.g., I, me, my), c) they use bigger words, d) the make more references to time and motion, and e) they use more self-reflective words such realize, understand, and think. The best markers of deception are would-should-could verbs, positive emotion words, and you-words. Averaging across all these dimensions, Gordon Brown comes across as having the most honest language profile. Clegg comes in a distant second with Cameron close behind Clegg.

Want an honest PM? Vote for Gordon Brown ......

Caveat: Linking natural language use with social, cognitive, and personality dimensions is a relatively new science. It’s important to think of it in probabilistic terms. Our approach is more accurate than flipping a coin but far from 100% accurate ....

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Hmmmm .... wonder if I can analyze the Vatican's messages using this method? :)


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