LIWC

About

Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) is the gold standard for research in the field of Language Psychology. It was created by Dr. James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas, to examine the therapeutic value of writing by capturing psychologically-relevant linguistic features of text. The various dimensions of language included in LIWC have been validated and addressed in published research, and LIWC has been the basis for thousands of academic publications in a variety of fields covering topics such as gender differences, power dynamics, language, and personality, as well as consumer insights, fake news and conspiracy, and interpersonal relationships, among others.

Using the Receptiviti API, you can programmatically access LIWC, which classifies language into 94 psychologically-relevant categories. In multiple experimental settings, LIWC has demonstrated the ability to identify patterns in social relationships, internal cognitive processes, motivations, thinking styles and much more.

While early versions of LIWC were developed manually, later updates have been developed using semantic vector networks, thematic analysis, and other machine-learning techniques.

{
"plan_usage": {
"word_limit": 250000,
"words_used": 1282,
"words_remaining": 248718,
"percent_used": 0.51,
"start_date": "2021-01-01T00:00:00Z",
"end_date": "2021-01-31T23:59:59Z"
},
"results": [
{
"response_id": "f2ef969d-c96b-4adc-b78b-cd3cba8111f8",
"language": "en",
"version": "v1.0.0",
"summary": {
"word_count": 3,
"words_per_sentence": 3,
"sentence_count": 1,
"six_plus_words": 0.6666666666666666,
"capitals": 0.043478260869565216,
"emojis": 0,
"emoticons": 0,
"hashtags": 0,
"urls": 0
},
"personality": {...},
"social_dynamics": {...},
"drives": {...},
"cognition": {...},
"additional_indicators": {...},
"sallee": {...},
"liwc": {
"analytical_thinking": 0.9325858951175406,
"clout": 0.5,
"authentic": 0.01,
"emotional_tone": 0.99,
"six_plus_words": 0.6666666666666666,
"dictionary_words": 0.6666666666666666,
"function_words": 0,
"pronouns": 0,
"personal_pronouns": 0,
"i": 0,
"we": 0,
"you": 0,
"she_he": 0,
"they": 0,
"impersonal_pronouns": 0,
"articles": 0,
"prepositions": 0,
"auxiliary_verbs": 0,
"adverbs": 0,
"conjunctions": 0,
"negations": 0,
"other_grammar": 0.3333333333333333,
"verbs": 0,
"adjectives": 0,
"comparisons": 0,
"interrogatives": 0,
"numbers": 0,
"quantifiers": 0.3333333333333333,
"affective_processes": 0.3333333333333333,
"positive_emotion_words": 0.3333333333333333,
"negative_emotion_words": 0,
"anxiety_words": 0,
"anger_words": 0,
"sad_words": 0,
"social_processes": 0,
"family": 0,
"friends": 0,
"female": 0,
"male": 0,
"cognitive_processes": 0.3333333333333333,
"insight": 0,
"causation": 0,
"discrepancies": 0,
"tentative": 0.3333333333333333,
"certainty": 0,
"differentiation": 0,
"perceptual_processes": 0,
"see": 0,
"hear": 0,
"feel": 0,
"biological_processes": 0,
"body": 0,
"health": 0,
"sexual": 0,
"ingestion": 0,
"drives": 0,
"affiliation": 0,
"achievement": 0,
"power": 0,
"reward": 0,
"risk": 0,
"time_orientation": 0,
"focus_past": 0,
"focus_present": 0,
"focus_future": 0,
"relativity": 0,
"motion": 0,
"space": 0,
"time": 0,
"personal_concerns": 0,
"work": 0,
"leisure": 0,
"home": 0,
"money": 0,
"religion": 0,
"death": 0,
"informal_language": 0,
"swear_words": 0,
"netspeak": 0,
"assent": 0,
"nonfluencies": 0,
"filler_words": 0,
"all_punctuation": 0.3333333333333333,
"periods": 0,
"commas": 0,
"colons": 0,
"semicolons": 0,
"question_marks": 0,
"exclamations": 0,
"dashes": 0,
"quotes": 0,
"apostrophes": 0,
"parentheses": 0,
"other_punctuation": 0.3333333333333333
}
}
]
}

Measures

CategoryMeasureExamples
Summary Language Variables
Linguistic Dimensions
Other Grammar
Psychological Processes

Working with LIWC

The LIWC dictionary is composed of approximately 6,400 words, word stems, and select emoticons.

LIWC measures will range between 0 and 1. 0 implies that a word within a category was not mentioned, and anything above zero indicates that a word in that category was mentioned, and the associated score reflects the ratio of that word to the total number of words in the submitted text sample.

When using LIWC, it’s important to remember that some words can fall into more than one category. For example, the word cried is part of five different categories: sadness, negative emotion, overall affect, verbs, and past focus. Hence, if the word cried is found in your text sample, each of these five sub-dictionary scores will be incremented.

As in the example with the word cried, many of the LIWC categories are arranged hierarchically. All sadness words, by definition, belong to the broader negative emotion category, as well as the overall affect words category.

Word stems can also be captured by LIWC. For example, the dictionary includes the stem hungr*, which allows for any word in your sample that matches the first five letters to be counted as an ingestion word (including hungry, hungrier, hungriest). The asterisk denotes the acceptance of all letters, hyphens, or numbers following its appearance.

Further Reading

Contact us for further reading or research materials that are specific to your use case.

Aggregating LIWC Scores in Jupyter Notebooks - Demo Project

For a LIWC score aggregation demo project, go here.