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Title: Personality and language : the projection and perception of personality in computer-mediated communication
Author: Gill, Alastair James
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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In this thesis we investigate two hypotheses: Firstly, that personality is projected linguistically; Secondly, that personality can be perceived through language. These questions are addressed with particular reference to the traits Extraversion and Neuroticism - which are central to the main models of personality - along with a third trait, Psychoticism. The methodology of the thesis is based around the construction of a personality corpus, which was collected using experimental internet techniques. We use this to test our hypotheses. We test Hypothesis 1 using two main approaches: top-down content analysis based upon the psychological properties of the text, and data-driven empirical techniques from statistical natural language processing to identify characteristic features. Whilst, the former analysis performs inconsistently across the different personality dimensions, the latter technique provides more reliable results with our data. A combination of these techniques gives a more comprehensive description of personality language for these traits. Hypothesis 2 is tested using subjective rating of the salience of author personality in our texts. Here we found that personality can be accurately perceived from asynchronous textual communication, but that accuracy is mediated by the personality trait in question. We also evaluate the role of subjective perception upon personality judgement. In conclusion, we discuss the findings that personality can be projected and perceived through language. We note that there are differences both in how the traits Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Psychoticism are each projected, and in how they are perceived. The perception results can be explained in terms of visibility and evaluativeness; The projection results require a model which can map traits onto different stages of the language production process. We review implications and potential applications which follow from our findings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available