Blogger Personality and Word Choice

What can you learn about a blogger's personality from his word choice?

Tyler Cowen points to this a “a considerable success”:

Some commentators have suggested that the internet allows people to present idealised versions of themselves to the world. Contrary to that idea, [Tal] Yarkoni found that bloggers’ choice of words consistently related to their personality type just as has been found in past offline research.

More neurotic bloggers used more words associated with negative emotions; extravert bloggers used more words pertaining to positive emotions; high scorers on agreeableness avoided swear words and used more words related to communality; and conscientious bloggers mentioned more words with achievement connotations. 

Well, I avoid swear words in blogging but was nonetheless skeptical.  Clicking through and reading further only reinforced my initial reaction:

Among the most strong and intriguing correlations were: Neuroticism correlated with use of ‘irony’ and negatively correlated with ‘invited’; Extraversion correlated with ‘drinks’ and negatively correlated with ‘computer’; Openness correlated with ‘ink’; Agreeableness with ‘wonderful’ and negatively correlated with ‘porn’; and Conscientiousness correlated with ‘completed’ and negatively correlated with ‘boring’.

Huh?  Some of these are plausible but, really, ink and drinks?  And, um, computer? Surely, context matters?

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Science & Technology,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Andy says:

    The upshot: don’t hold out a lot of hope for Dodd being terribly pleasant in person, either.

  2. Bryan Pick says:

    Can’t say I understand “ink,” but it sounds quite plausible that extroverts would use the word “drinks” more often — it’s never a first-person verb, and it’s a noun associated with socializing.