研究:书中用词反映现代人变自私

2013-08-08 14:04:22 来源: 中国日报网(北京) 举报
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在过去的两个世纪里,随着物质财富的增加和城市化进程,人们却变得更加自私了。

加州大学洛杉矶分校的心理学教授帕特丽夏•格林菲尔德最近进行了一项研究,发现在过去的两个世纪里,随着物质财富的增加和城市化进程,人们却变得更加自私了。格林菲尔德教授分析了从1800年到2000年出版的150万本英美书籍中的用词,发现像“选择”、“获得”这种词的使用量增加,而像“责任”“给予”这类词的使用减少,并且,人们用词越来越关注自我,如“独一无二”、“个体”、“自我”等词的使用量都在增加,格林菲尔德教授认为这意味着英美社会在变得越来越自私。

除此之外,研究还发现现代人更加了解自己的情绪,因为“感觉”的使用量增加而“行动”的使用量有所减少。宗教、服从和社会关系的重要性在下降,因为“权威”“归属”“祷告”等词变得越来越不流行了。

研究:书中用词反映现代人变自私

Analysis of words used in more than 1.5 million American and British books published between 1800 and 2000 has revealed how cultural values have changed in that time.

Researchers found an increase in the use of words like “choose” and “get” in the past two centuries while words like “obliged” and “give” decreased.

There was also an indication that people in modern society are more in touch with their emotions than they once were – the use of “feel” increased while “act” decreased.

The psychologists behind the study claim the shifts in language indicate how US and British society has grown more selfish as it has grown wealthier and more urban.

Professor Patricia Greenfield, a psychologist at the University of California Los Angeles who conducted the study, said: "This research shows that there has been a two century long historical shift toward individualistic psychological functioning.

"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."

Professor Greenfield, whose work is published in the journal Psychological Science, used Google’s Ngram Viewer to count word frequencies in 1,160,000 books by US authors.

The software allows users to rapidly count the numbers of words in books.

These included novels, non-fiction titles and textbooks.

She then did the same with 350,000 books published in the UK before repeating the tests with synonyms for each target word.

“These replications indicate that the underlying concepts, not just word frequency, have been changing in importance over historical time,” said Professor Greenfield.

She found words that indicate a growing focus on the self, such as “child”, “unique”, “individual”, and “self”, all increased in use.

The use of words like “get” declined between 1940 and the 1960s before rising in the 1970s, perhaps reflected that cooperative feel and lower levels of self-interest during World War II and post war declined.

The importance of religion, obedience and social relationships also seemed to decline over the 200 year period, with words like "authority," "belong" and "pray” becoming less common.

Professor Greenfield is now hoping to replicate the work with books in Spanish, French, Russian and Chinese to look for global patterns in culture shift reflected in literature.

(Source: The Telegraph)

王燕 本文来源:中国日报网 责任编辑:王晓易_NE0011
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