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)
- 考拉工厂店婴儿手口湿巾 佰澳朗德 婴幼儿童液体乳钙软胶囊 尤妮佳 L54片 纸尿裤/尿不湿 花王妙而舒 L54片 纸尿裤/尿不湿 Ddrops 婴儿维生素D3滴剂 > 查看更多
- JAYJUN 水光能量定妆隔离防晒喷雾 JMsolution 玫瑰防水防晒隔离喷雾SPF50 【娜扎小S同款】RE:CIPE 水晶防晒喷雾 【林允同款】L.I.D LOVEINDESERT 防晒喷雾 Freeplus 净润洗面霜 > 查看更多
- 考拉工厂店 软弹家居男/女浴室拖鞋 考拉工厂店 3层加厚软抽面巾纸 【好妹妹乐队同款】馥郁芬芳无火香薰 得宝MINI系列迷你纸手帕 膳魔师超轻小巧精致真空保温水杯 > 查看更多
- Swisse 奶蓟草 Swisse 高浓度蔓越莓胶囊 Swisse 钙&VD片 red seal 红印 优质黑糖 Breath Pearls 口气清新丸 > 查看更多
- 良品铺子 牛轧奶芙 99任选14 考拉工厂店 高汤牛肉方便面 良品铺子 面筋卷 99任选14 良品铺子开口笑甘栗 99任选14 德运 高钙全脂成人牛奶粉 > 查看更多
- 考拉工厂店 男士精梳棉防臭休闲袜 考拉工厂店 女士精梳棉防臭休闲袜 Nike 黑白情侣奥利跑步鞋 Champion 新款美版经典短袖T恤 Dickies 男士V领打底短袖T恤 > 查看更多
- LAMY 凌美狩猎者 F尖钢笔 JBL C100SI 立体声入耳式耳机 考拉工厂店 苹果快充数据线（MFI认证） 任天堂 Switch 掌上游戏机 考拉工厂店 马卡龙移动充电宝10000毫安 > 查看更多