Women are warmer but no less assertive than men: gender and language on Facebook
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Park, G., Yaden, D., Schwartz, H., Kern, M., Eichstaedt, J., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D., et al. (2016). Women are warmer but no less assertive than men: gender and language on Facebook. PLoS One, 11 (5), e0155885-e0155885. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155885
Using a large social media dataset and open-vocabulary methods from computational linguistics, we explored differences in language use across gender, affiliation, and assertiveness. In Study 1, we analyzed topics (groups of semantically similar words) across 10 million messages from over 52,000 Facebook users. Most language differed little across gender. However, topics most associated with self-identified female participants included friends, family, and social life, whereas topics most associated with self-identified male participants included swearing, anger, discussion of objects instead of people, and the use of argumentative language. In Study 2, we plotted male- and female-linked language topics along two interpersonal dimensions prevalent in gender research: affiliation and assertiveness. In a sample of over 15,000 Facebook users, we found substantial gender differences in the use of affiliative language and slight differences in assertive language. Language used more by self-identified females was interpersonally warmer, more compassionate, polite, and—contrary to previous findings—slightly more assertive in their language use, whereas language used more by self-identified males was colder, more hostile, and impersonal. Computational linguistic analysis combined with methods to automatically label topics offer means for testing psychological theories unobtrusively at large scale.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155885
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/256176
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