The words that consistently pop up in published literature can tell us a lot about individual and cultural trends and values. Are people talking about their emotions more? Are people feeling depressed?
Patricia Greenfield, a psychology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, decided to use word frequency patterns to identify how people's values have shifted over time from the sociological concepts of gemeinschaft (translated from German as community, reflecting a rural society with a subsistence economy) and gesellschaft (translated as society, reflecting an urban, wealthy, technological culture).
By analyzing word frequency data from more than a million books published in the United States and Britain between 1800 and 2000, using Google Books Ngram Viewer, Greenfield found that our language has slowly shifted to focus on individualism and material gain. We now use more individual-focused words like "get" and "choose," rather than group-focused words like "give" and "obliged."
Greenfield was looking for more than a simple change in slang or word preference, so she also looked at data from synonyms and related words to see if they underwent the same usage changes. For example, for "choose" and "obliged" she also looked at usages of "decision" and "duty."
Words like "choose" and "get" have increased in relative frequency over time, an uptick Greenfield attributes to the historical shift from living in more spread out, rural places to living in a more urban, individualistic environment with an emphasis on materialism. As materialistic word frequency increased, the concurrent decline in words like "obliged" and "give" might indicate a departure from rural life that revolved around greater social responsibility.
"Get" usage took a little dip during World War II and the civil rights movement, suggesting a possible decline in self-interest in favor of the collective good during those times.
Nonetheless, other signs indicate that these days, we're largely looking out for No. 1, and perhaps bucking more traditional societal structures. Since 1800, words like "self," "unique" and "individual" have been increasing in relative frequency, while "authority," "obedience," "belong" and "pray" have been on the decline.
"This research shows that there has been a two-century–long historical shift toward individualistic psychological functioning adapted to an urban environment and away from psychological functioning adapted to a rural environment," Greenfield said in a statement. "The currently discussed rise in individualism is not something recent but has been going on for centuries as we moved from a predominantly rural, low-tech society to a predominantly urban, high-tech society."
Next, Greenfield hopes to replicate her findings with Google Books data in other languages, including Spanish, Russian and Chinese.
The study appears in the August 8 issue of Psychological Science.
uptil I looked at the paycheck which was of $6148, I didn't believe ...that...my mother in law was like actualy bringing home money part-time at there labtop.. there uncle has done this for only 6 months and just now paid for the mortgage on their home and bourt a brand new Toyota. we looked here,
PopSci has reached a new low by re-publishing the despicable pro-abortion article by Katie McDonough from Salon:
Fetal pain is NOT a lie. It's just not understood very well. Despite the article's assurances that pain is felt only after specific neural development occurs at 24 weeks, the medical literature is divided on fetal pain. The fetus responds to stimuli long before 24 weeks and how a fetus perceives a stimulus as pain is not understood at all.
This article isn't science, it's politics. Legislatures in some states, responding to the changing mood of the electorate, are creating legal consequences for terminating the life of a viable unborn child simply because it is inconvenient for the mother or father (or both).
The author is miffed that they could be so callous as to restrict a mother's choice in the matter. She neglects to consider how callous it is to ignore the unborn infant's choice (or lack thereof). She promotes the mother's welfare and dismisses the welfare of the fetus, which at 20 weeks (5 months) is distinctly human and has almost all the features of the baby it will be if allowed to live.
In McDonough's screed she writes about the experience of one abortion doctor: "Patients are now asking me about fetal pain. This was not happening 15 years ago," Davis says. "When you're sitting in your office with a woman who is 22 weeks (5 1/2 months) into a pregnancy with a severe fetal anomaly — she's depressed, she's stressed and now she's worried, 'Is my baby going to feel pain?' It's just another thing these women have to struggle with. And why? These are created concerns. They are not based in science, they are based in politics."
No, these are natural maternal concerns that most mothers have for their developing baby. It's not a "created concern" and it has nothing to do with politics.
So what are we to make of President Obama's constant use of the words "I", "me", "my", etc.?
The reason for this spike in self-centered words is ADVERTISING. The overwhelming amount of buy this, eat this, do this, use this... and so on and so on, coupled with the "you deserve it" delivery is changing the way most people think. Think about it, how much are you really flooded by advertising on a daily basis? I think this, along with, iphone, ihome, icar, i - everything, is promoting selfishness. I feel like the average american is a lot like the seagulls from "Finding Nemo" MINE MINE MINE MINE!
Mine mine mine mine!! Black-Friday @ Walmart is all the proof you need.
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
Pseudo Science strikes again!!!!
May I "GET" some Mashed Potatoes
Will you "GIVE" me some Mashed Potatoes
I would like to "GET" some Mashed Potatoes
I would like for you to "GIVE" me some Mashed Potatoes...
The idea that SINGULAR WORDS are either "Self Centered" are not is ludicrous. It's the ENTIRE SENTENCE that matters.
Changes in word frequency can be more attributed to:
A) Changes in eduction
B) Changes in media (presentation, frequency, types: news vs advertising vs entertainment)
Using "one word" more often then another word has no overall bearing on how selfish or selfless a society is. In fact, if you were to look at the AMOUNT OF DONATIONS TODAY VS HISTORICAL RECORD OF DONATIONS (adjusted for inflation) I think you would probably find people today are:
1. Less Greedy
2. Less Racist
3. Less Inclined to Classicism
4. Generally more educated as a whole
The fact that research like this even takes place only goes to show you can get a research grant for just about anything.
Wasn't it not too long ago there was the "Word Trends" thing, where you can see the most frequently used words on the internet.. weren't those words more often then not about pornography. So clearly, our society has turned into a bunch of perverts since we obviously look for porn so much.
CONTEXT!!! ITS IMPORTANT!!
This exact phenomenon I have noticed, especially while watching US American TV programs.
One example I hear especially often, is "I want" when the topic really is what the person "wishes" or even "dreams" of getting. E.g. regarding Christmas/Birthdays, one may wonder if the word "Wish List" doesn't cover what it describes anymore, if using "Want List" or "Shopping List" would be more descriptive.
This is something that has annoyed me increasingly the past few years, in my ears all these people sound as if they are a bunch of entitled and ungrateful spoiled brats! Children and adults alike!
It sounds especially bad when somebody gets helped by some TV show and/or charity - one example is be when a person/family just were gifted a new and beautiful fully furnished home for free (e.g. on shows like Extreme Makeover Home Ed.) or have had their home fantastically redecorated. Or get a car or something really extraordinary like that (amazing things in the category "things that never happen" - things as likely as getting rich by winning the lottery!). When they then say "Just what I wanted", it really sounds as if they think they are entitled to receive whatever it was that they were given so generously.
Another annoying thing is that so many today don't even say "Thank You" when they receive a gift... Manners! It seems that good old fashioned manners are something many (thankfully not all!) children just don't learn at home nowadays... Sad!