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The big two dictionaries: Capturing agency and communion in natural language

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Agnieszka Pietraszkiewicz
  • Magdalena Formanowicz
  • Marie Gustafsson Sendén
  • Ryan L. Boyd
  • Sverker Sikström
  • Sabine Sczesny
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/08/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number5
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)871-887
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/11/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Four studies developed and validated two dictionaries to capture agentic and communal expressions in natural language. Their development followed the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) approach (Study 1) and we tested their validity with frequency-based analyses and semantic similarity measures. The newly developed Agency and Communion dictionaries were aligned with LIWC categories related to agency and communion (Study 2), and corresponded with subjective ratings (Study 3), confirming their convergent validity. Very low or absent correspondence between proposed dictionaries and unrelated LIWC categories demonstrated their discriminant validity (Study 2). Finally, we applied both dictionaries to language used in advertisements. In correspondence to gender stereotypes, male-dominated jobs were advertised with more agentic than communal words, and female-dominated jobs with more communal than agentic words (Study 4). Both dictionaries represent reliable tools for quantifying agentic and communal content in natural language, and will improve and facilitate future research on agency and communion.