James Pennebaker's Research Featured in NY Times: Site Tracks Candidates' Words in '08
Posted: October 14, 2008
"James W. Pennebaker’s interest in word counting began more than 20 years ago, when he did several studies suggesting that people who talked about traumatic experiences tended to be physically healthier than those who kept such experiences secret. He wondered how much could be learned by looking at every single word people used — even the tiny ones, the I’s and you’s, a’s and the’s.
That led Dr. Pennebaker, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, down a winding path that has taken him from Beatles lyrics (John Lennon’s songs have more “negative emotion” words than Paul McCartney’s) all the way to terrorist communications. By counting the different kinds of words a person says, he is breaking new linguistic ground and leading a resurgent interest in text analysis."
--Jessica Wapner, "Scientist at Work: He Counts Your Words (Even Those Pronouns)", The New York Times, October 14, 2008