Flashback Friday: What’s the real difference between what men and women post on Facebook?

By Seriously Science | February 19, 2016 6:00 am

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File this under “reinforcing stereotypes“: these scientists use word clouds created from the Facebook messages of 75,000 people to reveal not only the differences between men and women (fighting,  football and xbox vs. babies, emoticons, and shopping), but between introverts and extroverts (anime and computers vs. parties and ‘chillin’).  If this hasn’t paralyzed you from depression, continue reading for a peek at the rest of the word clouds in all their glory. xD 

Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach

Figure 3. Words, phrases, and topics most highly distinguishing females and males. show more Female language features are shown on top while males below. Size of the word indicates the strength of the correlation; color indicates relative frequency of usage. Underscores (_) connect words of multiword phrases. Words and phrases are in the center; topics, represented as the 15 most prevalent words, surround. (: females and males; correlations adjusted for age; Bonferroni-corrected ).

Figure 3. Words, phrases, and topics most highly distinguishing females and males. show more Female language features are shown on top while males below. Size of the word indicates the strength of the correlation; color indicates relative frequency of usage. Underscores (_) connect words of multiword phrases. Words and phrases are in the center; topics, represented as the 15 most prevalent words, surround. (: females and males; correlations adjusted for age; Bonferroni-corrected ).

“We analyzed 700 million words, phrases, and topic instances collected from the Facebook messages of 75,000 volunteers, who also took standard personality tests, and found striking variations in language with personality, gender, and age. In our open-vocabulary technique, the data itself drives a comprehensive exploration of language that distinguishes people, finding connections that are not captured with traditional closed-vocabulary word-category analyses. Our analyses shed new light on psychosocial processes yielding results that are face valid (e.g., subjects living in high elevations talk about the mountains), tie in with other research (e.g., neurotic people disproportionately use the phrase ‘sick of’ and the word ‘depressed’), suggest new hypotheses (e.g., an active life implies emotional stability), and give detailed insights (males use the possessive ‘my’ when mentioning their ‘wife’ or ‘girlfriend’ more often than females use ‘my’ with ‘husband’ or ‘boyfriend’). To date, this represents the largest study, by an order of magnitude, of language and personality.”

Bonus figure from the main text:

Figure 6. Words, phrases, and topics most distinguishing extraversion from introversion and neuroticism from emotional stability. show more A. Language of extraversion (left, e.g., ‘party’) and introversion (right, e.g., ‘computer’); . B. Language distinguishing neuroticism (left, e.g. ‘hate’) from emotional stability (right, e.g., ‘blessed’); (adjusted for age and gender, Bonferroni-corrected ).

Figure 6. Words, phrases, and topics most distinguishing extraversion from introversion and neuroticism from emotional stability.
show more
A. Language of extraversion (left, e.g., ‘party’) and introversion (right, e.g., ‘computer’); . B. Language distinguishing neuroticism (left, e.g. ‘hate’) from emotional stability (right, e.g., ‘blessed’); (adjusted for age and gender, Bonferroni-corrected ).

Related content:
Why posting on Facebook could be good for you.
NCBI ROFL: The science of Facebook relationship status: It’s complicated.
NCBI ROFL: Mirror, mirror on my Facebook wall: effects of exposure to Facebook on self-esteem.

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  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Men are driven by accomplishment (money, power, chattels) and sex. Women are driven by seduction (trading sex for money, power, chattels) and revenge. In the middle are the losers.

    US presidential election 2016 has always been a three-way race: Oligarch Trump, Trotskyist Sanders, psychopath [DSM-5 301.7 (F60.2), ASPD] Clinton; and the milquetoast losers.

    • David Charles Randall

      While your analysis is interesting, calling Sanders a “Trotskyite” belies a sad lack of factual knowledge, both of Trotsky and Sanders, let alone labeling Clinton as a psychopath. And.. way off-topic.

      • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

        Trostsky advocated “Permanent Revolution” in which unripe capitalist societies would reform into (e.g., Pol Pot and Cambodia given a soupçon of pre-wash soaking) egalitarian agrarian socialism. The US Federal Reserve successfully ZIRP-curtailed US capitalism at all levels. Sanders advocates replacing (unfair) personal endeavor with (universal) Federal supply. The USSR solved the conundrum of sourcing Federal supply with gulags.

        Read the DSM categories and compare with Secretary of State Clitler.

        • David Charles Randall

          Now that DT is the presumed prez-elect (not a fact until 12/19 btw), how would you assess this now? Your strawman of a Mexican style savior is exactly who seems to be our next leader. He got away with promising coal jobs that can never return, tax cuts that will re-cripple the country, a wall that will never be built, ACA repeal that hes already backed away from, and his minions talk of a permanent Republican government. HRC talked policy, very unsexy. He talked flattery, very dangerous, as the founders knew.

      • OWilson

        Perhaps the better term for Mrs Clinton is a paranoid schizophrenic.

        It doesn’t take a psychiatric degree to recognize her delusions of “dodging sniper fire in Bosnia”, or her obsession with some vast right wing conspiracy (which now includes Obama’s Inspector General) is a weird mental defect she carries with her.

        (Along with a constant trail of government investigations, 25 years now, and counting)

        • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

          A psychopath is a sociopath with an agenda. Facebook allows declaration without accountability.

    • Observational_Point

      It depends upon where people are in their lives and the level of the hormones that drive them ….
      Young mature women are strongly driven by maternal instincts until they produce and raise their offspring. Then they seek out other things (which may involve sex in a different context).
      Young men are strongly driven by the things that win them a chance to spread their genes. These “drives” derive for our evolutionary past, and while they may still be the most powerful at a particular time in our lives, they are not the only ones. Don’t forget too, we have “halted” evolution by intervening in the selection process with our humanity, for better or worse.

      There are subsets who abandon primitive drives completely for other things, like the pursuit of knowledge, spiritual belief or art. To brand all those who don’t engage in activities around “sex” as “losers” is blinkered and disrespects our progress.
      The difference between animals and humans is that we try to rise above and separate from our instincts at some point in our lives, understanding those drives for what they are and enjoying them when they are relevant.
      Were we just animals your strictly zoological perspective might hold. Of course, if you consider yourself an animal still you devalue your input here as your thinking will have surely been clouded by primeval urges …

  • polistra24

    When you use the tag “reinforcing stereotypes”, you are showing that you cannot learn from reality. “Reinforcing” implies that the stereotypes are commonly believed delusions which need to be exploded, not reinforced.

    Reality shows that the alleged “stereotypes” are simply facts, and thus can’t be reinforced or destroyed. We don’t talk about “reinforcing the delusion that 2+2=4.”

    • OWilson

      We have folks among us who would eliminate, by education and other means, such as peer pressure and Political Correctness, all differences between sexes and indeed individual people.

      They feel we (not them of course) are all created equal, deserve the same outcomes in life, and they will lead us all to nirvana if we just give up our pride and ego and follow them.

      (Of course it takes a hell of a lot of ego and pride to get to be a leader of these movements) :)

  • Hristo Hristov

    Why did this post make me cry?

  • Adeski

    shopping :-/ should be vapid.

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