As we approach the ninth anniversary of 9/11, researchers writing in Psychological Science this week analyzed 85,000 text pages sent through pagers during the 2 hours before and 18 hours after 9/11 took place. (You do remember what a pager is, don’t you?) WikiLeaks, the website in the news lately for other reasons, has made the 573,000 lines consisting of 6.4 million words freely available on its website for the past year.
What would these 85,000 pages tell us about the human emotion that people were expressing during those 20 hours?
Researchers’ favorite tool when it comes to text analysis is the good ole Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC). So it’s no surprise that’s what these researchers also turned to to analyze the word content of these communications for three specific emotions — sadness, anxiety and anger. The researchers “computed the percentage of words related to (a) sadness (e.g., crying, grief), (b) anxiety (e.g., worried, fearful), and (c) anger.”
What did they find?
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