top of page

Subscribe to get the latest updates from Receptiviti

Depression, negative emotionality, and self-referential language

LIWC Research Series:

Studies have typically shown that those experiencing higher levels of depression tend to use more first-person singular pronouns (I, me, my) in their everyday written and spoken language; however, these results have been mixed. In this article, researchers combined data from several studies collected by several different labs and examined the depression and self-focused pronoun correlation to resolve inconsistencies of past results. Although researchers found a significant positive association between depression and self-focused pronouns, this association was significantly weakened when controlling for negative emotionality. In contrast, the positive association between negative emotionality and self-focused pronouns remained strong even after controlling for depression. These findings suggest that first-person singular pronoun use may be more indicative of general psychological distress than depression.

Read the paper


Tackman, A.M., Sbarra, D.A., Carey, A.L., Donnellan, M.B., Horn, A.B., Holtzman, N.S., Edwards, T.S., Pennebaker, J.W., & Mehl, M.R. (2019). Depression, negative emotionality, and self-referential language: A multi-lab, multi-measure, and multi-language-task research synthesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,116(5), 817-834.

If you enjoyed this article, get notified when there's new content!

Customer Stories

Customer Stories and Use Cases

Organizations of all sizes have integrated Receptiviti into their technologies and processes to uncover critical insights about the people who matter to their businesses.

Talent Evaluation

Learn how HR technology companies have integrated Receptiviti's language-based Big Five and DISC into their platforms.


Social Media

Use of Phone

See how Receptiviti powers social media monitoring technologies with point-in-time and longitudinal audience profiling and measurement. 


Digital Health

Medical Consultation

Learn how digital health providers use Receptiviti to predict trajectories, optimize care delivery, and ensure positive outcomes.


Workforce Culture and DEI

work together

HR technology providers integrate Receptiviti to measure workplace culture and workforce wellbeing from aggregated open-end responses.


Marketing Communications

Marketing Comms.jpg

Learn how PR & communications agencies measure the personality of audiences, and optimize the communications they create to engage them.


Assessment and Coaching

Motivational Speaker

Learn how executive coaches and training providers use Receptiviti to enhance program effectiveness by assessing leaders' communication styles.


Public Markets

Earnings calls.jpg

Learn how investors and fund managers use Receptiviti to gain deep insights into the psychology of executives at publicly traded companies.


What's your story?

Team Meeting

Speak with one of our subject matter experts to learn how Receptiviti can uncover insights about the people who are important to your business.


Ready to get started or have questions?
bottom of page