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Communications Science

Data Mining Reveals the Emotional Differences In Emails From Men and Women 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the men-are-from-yahoo,-women-are-from-outlook dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Sentiment analysis relies on vast databases of common words which are marked as positive, negative or neutral and associated with one of the eight fundamental emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, discuss, anger and anticipation. It is then a straightforward matter to search Tweets, novels and even fairy tales to see what emotions appear. Now, researchers have carried out the first large-scale study of sentiment in workplace emails. They examined the emotions associated with words in over 30,000 emails and analyzed the emotional differences between messages sent by men and women. It turns out that women use more cheerful words in emails than men, that men use more fear words, especially when communicating with other men, and that both men and women are far more likely to use anticipation words when emailing a member of the opposite sex. The same researchers say they are developing a Google app that will allow users to track their own emotions towards the people they correspond with in Gmail. And they plan to make a public call for volunteers willing to share their data for research purposes."
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Data Mining Reveals the Emotional Differences In Emails From Men and Women

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  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Friday October 04, 2013 @11:27AM (#45036881)

    1) Men's emails are 90% more likely to include the word "balls" than women's.
    2) Men are 74% less likely to ever email someone a link to an Oprah Magazine story.
    3) No man has ever used the phrase "K, Luv Ya!" in an email, ever.

    • "fear" words et al (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ESRB (974125)

      Even the journal article linked to by the blog seems to be scant on details. I was hoping there'd at least be a few appendices on these things, but no such luck. Anyone know exactly what "joy words," "fear words," et al are?

      Thanks in advance.

      • by SirGarlon (845873)

        I think you have asked an insightful question here. TFA says only:

        ...the new science of sentiment analysis ... relies on the creation of vast databases in which words are marked as either positive or negative and associated with one of the eight fundamental emotions...

        It's the content of that database that critically determines whether the findings of the textual analysis are any good. That database could be very carefully constructed by a transparent and rigorous process, with extensive validation against

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by waddleman (1230926)

        From the research paper:

        The lexicon has entries for about 24,200 word–sense pairs. The information from different senses of a word is combined by taking the union of all emotions associated with the different senses of the word. This resulted in a word-level emotion association lexicon for about 14,200 word types. These files are together referred to as the NRC Emotion Lexicon version 0.92.

        • So, they could accurately differentiate the emotions conveyed by "I love you" vs. "I would love to wring your neck"? And can they detect sarcasm? Oh, that's a real useful invention...
    • by onyxruby (118189)

      Utter bollocks, gay men are not 26% of the population and even then most of them have more sense than that...

  • by i_ate_god (899684) on Friday October 04, 2013 @11:38AM (#45036977) Homepage

    I'm not sure I ever felt discussing, though since I'm discussing it, I guess... I am discussed.

    • by freeze128 (544774)
      You disgust me.
  • fuck you

    second, hey they choose to use google...

  • i think people probably already have a good idea about what they actually think about the other people that they email back and forth with. a google app is just going to tell people things that they already know about themselves.
    • a google app is just going to tell people things that they already know about themselves.

      That app will do well, anything to parrots ourselves back to us will have mass appeal.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      i think people probably already have a good idea about what they actually think about the other people that they email back and forth with. a google app is just going to tell people things that they already know about themselves.

      One might be surprized. At one point my daughter pointed out to me that I was falling in love with somebody even before I was aware of it myself.

  • Of course men and women use different language in their emails. Young men would use different language than middle aged or older people do. A person emailing a friend would have different language than when they email their boss. This is not indicative of there "emotions". This is indicative of their education, wisdom, and who they are having a conversation with and the topics of discussion.

    This whole article discusses work done on an absolutely false premise. Emails can not be used to determine your e

    • Email language also vary based on where you're from, what your history is, your income level, your education level, how many fingers you've lost to chainsaws...

      I think Slashdot had an article a while back about being able to use your email language to track down individual people because there are so many different variables.

    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      The article stated nothing about anyone's "emotional state". Read TFA, digest TFA, comprehend TFA.
      • by s.petry (762400)

        It is then a straightforward matter to search Tweets, novels and even fairy tales to see what emotions appear. Now, researchers have carried out the first large-scale study of sentiment in workplace emails. They examined the emotions associated with words in over 30,000 emails and analyzed the emotional differences between messages sent by men and women.

        If you are determining that someone is of an emotion, you are determining their emotional state. If you are determining an emotional difference, you must know two states of emotion. Logic and reason is not very complex, but many people choose not to use either.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If you are determining that someone is of an emotion, you are determining their emotional state. If you are determining an emotional difference, you must know two states of emotion. Logic and reason is not very complex, but many people choose not to use either.

          Slow down. Read it again, it says "emotions associated with words" and "emotional differences between messages". That says nothing about emotional state. Nor does it imply those are the true emotions of the authors. This is about how men and women use language differently. Why you read so much more into that, I don't know.

          • by s.petry (762400)

            It is apparent that you missed "The same researchers say they are developing a Google app that will allow users to track their own emotions towards the people they correspond with in Gmail."

            If you choose to ignore what the article claims that is not my issue, but yours. I didn't read anything into the article, I read the whole article.

    • Of course men and women use different language in their emails. Young men would use different language than middle aged or older people do. A person emailing a friend would have different language than when they email their boss. This is not indicative of there "emotions". This is indicative of their education, wisdom, and who they are having a conversation with and the topics of discussion.

      I don't the researchers claim that the words directly reflect the writers emotions. When people write persuasively they instead try to stir emotions in their readers. For example, if I write: "I am deaply concerned that our current strategy exposes us to unnecessary risk." I am fear words in the hope that my readers will take what I have to say more seriously.

      • by s.petry (762400)

        You could just as easily use those words due to ignorance and be repeating what you heard someone else say, and not intentionally using fear correct? How would a person or application be able to discern the difference? It can't because, as with any language, there is a tremendous amount of subjectivity in the words.

        To take this a bit further, we often apply emotional words in an exactly different theme than our emotion. Take satire as a massive example. Another smaller example would be the person who ju

    • by Stan92057 (737634)
      Are you one of the many people Ive come across that think the Internet isn't real? Meaning what you say and do to others on the Internet cant hurt someone else feeling and emotions because well its the Internet?
      • by s.petry (762400)

        Seriously, do I give any hint that communication in any medium is different (internet vs. diary vs. book)? The point I raise is not that you can't harm someone in a communication, the point is that you can't know their intent by the words chosen from a single email.

        If I was to analyze a threaded communication, I would get an idea that it's possible your "piss off" email was a joke and not malicious. Having no such thread and looking at the "piss off" email I can make no such speculation rationally, and sh

        • by Stan92057 (737634)
          Wouldn't have asked if i thought any different. Which makes your point.
          • by s.petry (762400)

            Exactly what language give you the idea that I claim that a communication could not cause harm? I never make that claim, and make no implication. I claim that communications are subjective.

            This is not indicative of there "emotions". This is indicative of their education, wisdom, and who they are having a conversation with and the topics of discussion.

    • by s.petry (762400)
      Come now mods, this is absolutely not a troll.
    • by Valdrax (32670)

      Pack it in you eugenics morons! We are on to your game!

      I sense irritation and a vague sense of intellectual superiority...

      Woah... James Randi, here I come!

      • by s.petry (762400)

        Irritation? I think it's worse than that with the eugenics people. I side with Socrates over the Sophists, and despise this type of rhetoric for the same reasons. Philosophy should not be used for personal gain, but should be used for bettering society. I may actually be irritated because people are repeatedly being duped by the same propaganda, and on a site where people are supposed to be intellectuals it's befuddling that the same rhetorical tricks seem to always work.

        In the last year, there have bee

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2013 @11:54AM (#45037115)

    Fascinating!

    Let's try the same thing with song lyrics:

    Mama Cass:

    Stars shining bright above you
    Night breezes seem to whisper "I love you"
    Birds singing in the sycamore tree
    Dream a little dream of me
    Say "Night-ie night" and kiss me
    Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me
    While I'm alone and blue as can be
    Dream a little dream of me
    Stars fading but I linger on, dear
    Still craving your kiss
    I'm longing to linger till dawn, dear
    Just saying this
    Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
    Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
    But in your dreams whatever they be
    Dream a little dream of me

    And DJ Assault:

    (2x)
    Ass, titties, ass 'n titties
    Ass ass titties titties, ass 'n titties

    (2x)
    Big booty bitches thats where it gets
    Come on, hoe, let's go to the easy rest
    When I see ass, titties, ass 'n titties
    Ass, ass, titties, titties, ass 'n titties.

    (4x)
    Ass, ass, ass, ass

    (2x)
    If you a light-skinned bitch that think you the shit,
    I can buy you, hoe, 'cause bitch I'm rich.
    I see broke-ass hoes, broke-ass hoes,
    Broke-ass hoes, broke-ass hoes.

    (4x)
    Hoes, hoes, hoes, hoes

    (2x)
    If you a freaky-dancin' ho, keep shakin' that shit
    Let's see how you shake it on top of my dick
    And you'll say "Assault, I'm cuming. Assault, I'm cuming.
    "Assault, I'm cuming. Assault, I'm cuming."

    (4x)
    Cumin', Cumin', Cumin', Cumin'

    (2x)
    Stankin ass bitches that need to wash up
    Dont get mad when i dont want to fuck
    You need soap and water, soap and water
    Soap and water, Soap and Water

    (4x)
    Water, Water, Water, Water

    The difference is subtle, but in my opinion quite discernible.

    • Is this some kind of trick? I could swear these were written by the same person. This may be proof the Mama Cass faked her own death, changed her appearance, and is performing under the name DJ Assault.
  • by pla (258480) on Friday October 04, 2013 @11:57AM (#45037151) Journal
    Males and females have absolutely no difference between them, despite the overwhelming experiential, physiological, neurological, anatomical, and hormonal evidence to the contrary, you sexist pigs, and how dare you even conduct this research into the issue!

    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go open a jar of mayo for the little lady, though that in no way suggests she lacks the wrist and forearm strength to grasp and twist just as well as any man.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Males and females have absolutely no difference between them, despite the overwhelming experiential, physiological, neurological, anatomical, and hormonal evidence to the contrary, you sexist pigs, and how dare you even conduct this research into the issue!

      I realize you're joking, but sexism (or racism, or class-ism, etc.) is not noticing that real differences exist, rather it is the value judgement assigned to those differences.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There is a real value difference between the sexes. You can't just pretend the differences don't matter. Being larger makes boys better at sports. Having a monthly period is a negative value (I don't think anyone disagrees with that, although it does come with a benefit of being able to have children).

        Pretending that the differences don't provide benefit to one side of the other is just silly.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          > Being larger makes boys better at sports.

          No, it doesn't. It gives them a potential advantage at sports.

          This is exactly the problem with making such a big fuss about the differences between the sexes, whatever they may be. My Y chromosome did not make me particularly athletic (like many Slashdot readers, I suspect), and my girlfriend can out-wrestle me. But your casual phrasing suggests that this should be impossible, because it paints both of us with an extremely broad brush.

          It gets worse with fuzzi

          • by znanue (2782675)

            > Being larger makes boys better at sports.

            No, it doesn't. It gives them a potential advantage at sports.

            This is exactly the problem with making such a big fuss about the differences between the sexes, whatever they may be. My Y chromosome did not make me particularly athletic (like many Slashdot readers, I suspect), and my girlfriend can out-wrestle me. But your casual phrasing suggests that this should be impossible, because it paints both of us with an extremely broad brush.

            It gets worse with fuzzier aptitudes like math, which is stereotypically believed to be a male discipline for... some reason or another. But today's NYT article [nytimes.com] suggests that perhaps there are fewer women in math and sciences because we tell women they can't do math and sciences.

            So yes, all else being an equal, a man will probably be stronger than a woman who's done the same training. But a woman who's done any training at all will be stronger than the vast majority of men who haven't, and insisting that "men are better at sports" will discourage women from bothering at all (and earn scorn towards both men and women who don't fit the mold).

            What is the use in such a distinction between potential advantage and just plain old advantage? A larger size really does seem to be a plain old advantage in many sports and a disadvantage in others.

            Why can't it be a little from column A and a little from column B? Or a lot from one and a little from the other? Of course the golem effect [wikipedia.org] is probably discouraging women from science, but on average, they may also just be worse at it, simultaneously. If that is the case, then is it in our best interests t

        • by Guy Harris (3803)

          Being larger makes boys better at sports.

          Being larger makes a person better at sports where greater size (which is probably a proxy for muscle mass here) is an advantage. I'm not certain that, in all sports, a big muscle-bound person would be better than, say, a slim wiry person.

          Boys are, on average, larger, but, then, the average person has (approximately) one ovary and one testicle. A larger boy would be better than a smaller boy at a sport where greater size is an advantage, but a larger girl might be better than that same smaller boy at tha

          • The "advantage" men have ovar women exists moslty at the highest levels of sports that focus on strength and lung capacity. Maybe the solution is to introduce more sports that focus on flexibility such as gymnastics. Admittedly judging such events is going to be more subjective than a game where you breast the tape or lift up a fixed series of weights.

      • No, I cannot speak for Sexism, but Racism is very clearly defined as believing that the Races have differences, or that "The Races" exist at all.

        I do not believe that is a very good definition, but that is what many people use and what you will find on Wikipedia, for example (and many others).

        I think it is mostly a European thing, I think I might have something to do with overcompensating for the Nazis.

        • It's a way of describing certain concrete physical characteristics. I like having names for things.

          Of course, then we go overboard and start assigning intelligence and other nurture things to them...

          • Because height and strength are not influenced by nurture.

          • by znanue (2782675)

            Are you saying there are no genetic factors for intelligence? Because, that seems like a nice pc thing to say but totally erroneous.

            If our discussions of race are pure 'nature' or pure 'nurture', then I think we're just appealing to one human vanity or the other.

            • I didn't say anything about the ratio of nature to nurture. I'm just saying society sometimes tells me a term I use solely to describe a certain group of people--with no intention of implied connotations--is unacceptable because apparently society can't use any word to describe the group without someone considering it a slur. I'm a programmer. I call a duck a fucking duck.

              wisnoskij says there's no such thing as race; you say race is an indicator for intelligence. I think I should put you two in a cage with

    • by PPH (736903)

      First, mod this +Funny. I'm out of points.

      and how dare you even conduct this research into the issue!

      Stand by for a lot more politically incorrect research being done by AI researchers. Sociologists, psychologists and linguists have known about this stuff for years. But it has been a 'no go' area of research, thanks to many institutes of higher learning PC policies. Now, enter the software geeks, necessarily lacking social skills. Give them a sizable corpus of training material and look what pops out.

    • by WSOGMM (1460481)

      Males and females have absolutely no difference between them, despite the overwhelming experiential, physiological, neurological, anatomical, and hormonal evidence to the contrary, you sexist pigs, and how dare you even conduct this research into the issue! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go open a jar of mayo for the little lady, though that in no way suggests she lacks the wrist and forearm strength to grasp and twist just as well as any man.

      I find your sentiment absolutely discussing!!

    • by mdielmann (514750)

      Males and females have absolutely no difference between them, despite the overwhelming experiential, physiological, neurological, anatomical, and hormonal evidence to the contrary, you sexist pigs, and how dare you even conduct this research into the issue! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go open a jar of mayo for the little lady, though that in no way suggests she lacks the wrist and forearm strength to grasp and twist just as well as any man.

      It's pretty clear her grasp and twist capability is far superior to yours, she's just not using it on the jar.

  • by Krishnoid (984597) * on Friday October 04, 2013 @11:58AM (#45037161) Journal
    Even the most basic data mining can reveal a lot about your hopes and dreams [theonion.com].
  • "eight fundamental emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, discuss, anger and anticipation"

    Great. When my wife tells me I need to be more open about my feelings I just need to discuss the relative merits of procedural and nonprocedural programming languages

  • I can hardly wait for the full science to come out.
    I anticipate having a gigundamous brain orgasm when I process the data.
    It's what I live for; it's what I write e-mails for; it's what I read comments for but then feel ashamed and disgusted.
  • This research is as valuable as the worth of a beautiful gold button which has been determined to be brass.

    I have serious doubts that any program could determine the actual "emotional" meaning of that phrase.

    The problem with all research of this nature is that human language is filled with reverses of logic and emotion in order to convey more subtle states of thought. Not to mention, as a writer I frequently change to a feminine voice for either a specific third person effect or simply dialogue for
    • I'm afraid you just haven't yet explored how amazing this wonderful research truly is.

      I just can't wait until people begin applying critical thinking skills in email to present a more pleasant and normalized tone!

      It really pisses me off that sarcasm can be mistaken as revulsion or praise by dumb machines.

      I trust you to understand the pain this causes me, human.

      • Oligonicella & VortexCortex, you've just provided a laundry list of the challenges that the developers of this app are probably already aware of. I suspect that this will be a useful tool in creating an overall public contentedness index which will in turn allow those in power to make certain that the rabble aren't getting roused at any given point in time. Part of the "Manage the humans" SPOG we're all helping to create. :) Yay! The differences between the sexes thing is interesting, but of questio
  • It's kind of retrograde, limited, and descriptively inadequate to insist on defining men and women first by gender. An alternative would be to cluster people by using a common vocabulary. You'll still get lots of gender stuff coming out but you can reflect the fact that there are lots of different ways to "do" gender. This is something we all know--there's not just one type of guy, nor one type of woman and gender--while often relevant--isn't always.

    Here's a paper on the matter. "Computational sociolingu

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