Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2014

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



In two samples, the current study examined the relative utility of two methods of analyzing language in personality psychology: narrative interviews and linguistic analysis. In the first sample, mid-life adults (N = 158) recalled a low point in their lives. Accounts were coded for redemption and analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC). Additionally, these participants also recalled high points in their lives, completed personality and measures of psychological and social well-being measures at both the time of the interview and three years later. The linguistic structure of the low points was found using a principal components analysis on the linguistic variables measured by LIWC. This structure was shown to include important content and style related factors. These factors were associated with background characteristics and personality traits of the participants, but not with redemption. Furthermore, both redemption and one linguistic factor, labeled Future Difference, were independent predictors of well-being as far as three years after the interview. The linguistic structure of the low point stories was not replicated in the high points of the same individuals, although a few key factors showed conceptual similarity. In the second sample, participants were recruited through an online personality questionnaire (N = 192) and were prompted to write about a low point event. The linguistic structure of these low points was not congruent with the low point structure found in the first sample, although again a few key factors were conceptually similar. The personalities of these participants were not associated with their language use, complicating the assumed relationship between personality and language. Additional research must consider the context and method of collecting language before making claims about the relative impact of personality on linguistic use.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Joshua J. Jackson

Committee Members

Simine Vazire, Thomas F. Oltmanns


Permanent URL:

Available for download on Tuesday, May 15, 2114

Included in

Psychology Commons