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Real Men Don’t Say “Cute”

Psychologists tap big data and Twitter to analyze the accuracy of stereotypes

Embrace the Data

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By Alex Danvers

What words can classify a movie review as positive? What words classify it as negative?

In the symposium Big Data: Vast Opportunities for Psychological Insight from Mining Enormous Datasets at the SPSP Annual Convention, Harvard economist Sendil Mullainathan threw up some obvious candidates, like “dazzling” or “gripping”—words that researchers brainstormed would do a good job. Using these “theory-grounded” words, a team of computer scientists was able to classify reviews with 60% accuracy—not much of an improvement over 50/50 guessing.

Finding Psychological Insights Through Social Media

Social media has opened up a new digital world for psychology research. Four researchers will be discussing new methods of language analysis, and how social media can be leveraged to study personality, mental and physical health, and cross-cultural differences. The speakers will be presenting their research during the symposium "Finding Psychological Signal in a Billion Tweets: Measurement Through the Language of Social Media," at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) 16th Annual Convention in Long Beach, California.

Collaborating with computer scientists