How Social Status Influences “Affect Language” in Tweets

Sheila Brownlow*, Jennifer C Beach and N. Clayton Silver

How Social Status Influences “Affect Language” in Tweets.

A simple sentiment expressed from one celebrity sibling to another on Twitter speaks volumes about not only the sender’s emotional state, but also the likely sex, social standing, and age of that person. Indeed, language is a reliable indicator of several social markers of its users, including status, sex, and personality.

The most notable closed approach is Pennebaker’s Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), which classifies word  use into different parts and different types of speech using a dictionary of 6000 words. The LIWC has been used to examine language in a broad range of contexts  and has been shown to reliably identify aspects of personality, current emotional state, education, sex, focus on relationships, level of cognitive sophistication, and age of speakers and writers

Negative emotional language also clearly reflects user characteristics. For example, either lots of negative emotion or an absence of any appropriate emotion in language are signs
of poor psychological health. Moody, over-reactive, and selfindulgent people use negative
emotional words ,but negative language is less likely among persons who are high in conscientiousness.
In many contexts, particularly those surrounding anxiety-provoking situations, women express more negative emotion. People who are unpredictable more commonly use words of anger to express themselves, as domen, although anger in linguistic expression is tolerated only among those of higher status. While not all language studies focus on only college-aged language users, many LIWC studies focused on college-aged students,
who may show more sex-linked language differences.


Psychol Cogn Sci Open J. 2017; 3(4): 100-104. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-3-130