College of Liberal Arts

James Pennebaker Discusses the Secret Life of Pronouns

Tuesday Dec 6, 2011 6:30 PM | AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, 1900 University, Amphitheater Room 204

The Austin Forum on Science, Technology and Society presents a talk titled "How Our Words Reflect Who We Are," by James Pennbaker, professor and department chair of psychology. 

Some of the most forgettable words in our vocabulary say the most about who we are. Pennebaker uses his groundbreaking research in computational linguistics to analyze pronouns, articles, prepositions and a handful of other small function words that account for over half of the words we say, hear, or read. Unlike more content-heavy words such as nouns, adjectives, and regular verbs, function words are difficult to detect and remember.

What makes function words interesting is that they reveal a great deal about our thoughts, emotions, and our relationships with listeners as well as the topic itself. In this talk, Pennebaker explores the secret life of function words and shows how analyzing them can reveal depression, dishonesty, leadership qualities, and whether you are compatible with the person you are currently interested in.

More about the event...



Faith Singer-Villalobos
Communications Coordinator
Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)
The University of Texas at Austin

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