Social Dynamics - Detailed Descriptions of Measures

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Affiliation

This measure indicates the degree to which a person is driven by their own internal need for affiliation with other individuals or groups. High scoring language suggests significant affiliation with others or a significant need for affiliation with others. Conversely low scores in this category are reflective of communication with little-to-no affiliation with others or little-to-no need for affiliation with others.

 

Examples:

 

High-scoring sentence:

“We just donated a small box to the food bank in our local community. We figured it was the least we could do to help our neighbours."

 

Low-scoring sentence:

“I wonder what time I’ll get home tonight - this traffic is absurd.”

 

Details:

 

The Affiliation measure includes language that relates to connecting and being in the presence of other people. Words in this category are related to the Social measure but measure different phenomena. The Social measure is a marker of social engagement and is associated with awareness of other people.

 

Examples of related research:

The Affiliation indicator has been used extensively in research. For example it has been used to examine gender differences in evaluations of emergency medicine residents and their approach to patient care. Research has also shown that the feeling of affiliation or the need to affiliate with others can also play a role in promoting positive or negative health behaviours.

Authentic:

 

This measure looks at the degree to which communication style is personal honest and unguarded. A high score in this category is associated with communication that is more honest personal and disclosing. A low score in this category is reflective of language that is more guarded and distanced. To be clear this measure is not a lie-detector on its own but it can be used to understand the degree to which a person may be guarded and avoiding revealing their true self.

 

Examples:

 

High-scoring sentence:

“I’m really looking forward to our lunch next week - it’s been way too long.”

 

Low-scoring sentence:

“Theoretically you wouldn’t be in this scenario had you not dismissed my aforementioned concerns.”

 

Details:

 

The Authenticity measure evaluates when someone is speaking naturally and uninhibited or whether they are carefully curating their words. A person may change their language for multiple reasons - such as to be more easily understood to align with expected tone or style or to avoid mentioning specific things.

 

When evaluating authenticity it is important to compare samples within the same context as to ensure the accuracy of the results. When someone is communicating inauthentically they tend to distance themselves from their words. Authentic communicators tend to speak their mind use their own language and care less about the specific words they choose to use. People with high authenticity scores tend to be seen as relatable down-to-earth and honest.

Examples of related research:

Studies relating to language and authenticity are vast. For example some research has shown that low Authenticity scores are correlated with deception, how changes in writing style are related to fraudulent data reporting, and how it is possible to detect deceptive discussions in quarterly earnings calls.

Clout:

This measure examines the degree to which communication reflects certainty and confidence. A high score indicates language that is highly confident, whereas a low score reflects a more tentative, humble, and anxious style of communication.

Examples:

High-scoring sentence:

“Let’s make sure to run this by our colleagues first. After we incorporate their feedback, can you make sure to send off the report before the end of the week?”

Low-scoring sentence:

“There’s an issue with the presentation. I don’t think I’ll be able to get an updated version to you before tomorrow.”

Details:

The Clout measure evaluates whether language is influential and leadership-like, or whether it is more passive and less persuasive. Language with lower Clout scores may not be intended to draw audiences in, or to inspire action. Clout can be context- and subject-specific; an individual with low a Clout score in one context may express a higher Clout score and have the ability to be influential in a different context. 

 

Examples of related research:

Research has shown that people with lower status levels are more focused on themselves, whereas leaders are more focused on others and the group as a whole. This phenomenon has been documented across a range of social and linguistic contexts, group sizes, and settings. It is important to note that this focus on others does not suggest that leaders put others before themselves, but rather that they’re particularly attentive to the behaviour and mental states of others. As such, studies have found that people who are attentive towards others will naturally be able to lead more effectively than those with attention directed inwards.
 

External Focus:

 

This measure evaluates the degree to which a person’s language is focused on people or entities other than themselves. A high score suggests a significant focus on people or entities other than oneself. A low score suggests minimal to no focus on other people or entities other than oneself.

Examples:

High-scoring sentence:

“Can you help their friend or not?”

Low-scoring sentence:

“I have to run - I have an appointment I can’t miss.”

Details:

The Outward Focus measure determines the degree to which a person’s language is focused on themselves or on other people by evaluating their use of “I” words and other self-referencing language. 

Examples of related research:

Self-focus has been an important factor for researchers investigating status, age, depression, and more. For example, lower status individuals tend to use language that is more self-focused and tentative, people tend to become more Outward Focused with age, and depressed individuals are more self-focused than their non-depressed counterparts. While this category is not intended to be used for detecting deception, research has shown that deceptive statements have been found to be more distanced from the self (ie. Outward Focused) than truthful ones.

Negations:

 

The Negations measure looks at the degree to which a person is using language associated with negating, refuting, or contradicting something being discussed. High scores are associated with a significant amount of language that negates, refutes, or contradicts something being discussed. A low score reflects communication with little-to-no language used to negate, refute, or contradict.

Examples:

High-scoring sentence:

“You shouldn’t do that without permission.”

Low-scoring sentence:

“I hope you have a good day at work!”

Details:

Language in this category contains a range of negative language and contractions, such as: wouldn’t, shouldn’t, don’t, cannot, etc. This category, combined with other measures of Social Dynamics, Personality, and Emotions can be helpful to understand more about how people feel about topics and the world around them, as well as aspects of the dynamics of their relationships with others.

Examples of related research:

Negations have been used by researchers to investigate a variety of social behaviours. For example, research has shown that emotion words are positively correlated with negation use. Additionally, research suggests that people who score high on extraversion in personality tests use negations less frequently

Self-Focus:

This measure evaluates the degree to which a person's language is focused on themselves. A high score in this category suggests increased focus on oneself, whereas a low score suggests minimal to no focus on oneself.

Examples:

High-scoring sentence:

“I was wondering if I could ask my question after our class tomorrow?”

Low-scoring sentence:

“You should really watch where you’re walking!”

Details:

The Inward Focus measure analyzes if someone’s language is focused on themselves, or outwardly focused on other people. The more someone uses “I” and self-related words, the more focused they are on themselves. 

How we see ourselves in the world is vitally important to how we interact within it. While research is still being done on the implications of self-focused language, we know it holds important information on how we communicate and behave in the world around us.

Examples of related research:

Self-focus has been an important factor for researchers investigating status, age, depression, and more. For example, lower status individuals tend to use language that is more self-focused and tentative, people tend to become less self-focused with age, and depressed individuals are more self-focused than their non-depressed counterparts. While this category is not intended to be used for deception detection purposes, deceptive statements have been found to be more distanced from the self than truthful ones. 

Social:

 

The Social measure evaluates the degree to which a person is focused on social engagement or has an awareness of other people. Those who score high in this category use language that reflects a significant focus on, or desire for social engagement, or a high degree of awareness of other people. A low score in the category indicates language with little focus on or desire for social engagement, or minimal awareness of other people.

Examples:

High-scoring sentence:

“We should really let your family know what time we’ll be home - I’m sure everyone is wondering where we’ve been.”

Low-scoring sentence:

“It’s really chilly in here, is there a window open?”

Details:

Social words are a marker of social engagement and are associated with awareness of other people. This vast category of words makes reference to other people, and includes certain pronouns, possessives, social nouns (ie. brother, team, etc.), social verbs (ie. participate, listen, etc.), social adjectives (ie. trusting, secret, etc.), and more. When individuals use Social words, they are inherently thinking about or interacting with other people. Therefore, people who communicate using a higher level of Social words are generally more socially-conscious.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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