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Note. All LIWC variables except total word count are expressed in percentages of total words.

Note. All LIWC variables except total word count are expressed in percentages of total words.

TEXT ANALYSIS AS A SCIENTIFIC METHOD: HISTORICAL OVERVIEW AND CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION

As a scientific method, text analysis is still young. It experienced its first surge during World War II, when Allied governments launched a series of large-scale projects to analyze the content of Nazi propaganda (Krippendorff, 1980). Stimulated by Murray's (1938) work on the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), the first postwar decade in psychology was characterized by an avalanche of studies on the assessment of implicit motives via thematic content analysis (Smith, 1992). The advent of mainframe computers in the early 1960s revolutionized the field. Stone and his colleagues at Harvard University developed the first computerized text analysis program: the General Inquirer (Stone, Dunphy, Smith, & Ogilvie, 1966).

Since the 1970s, scientific text analysis has been shaped by two other technological advancements: the diffusion of personal computers with exponentially growing processor speeds and the rapidly increasing digitalization of data—through the Internet and progress in optical character and voice recognition (West, 2001). Computers have become increasingly sophisticated word search engines and, most recently, have been used for extracting semantic and grammatical relationships among words (Foltz, Kintsch, & Landauer, 1998; Roberts, 1997).

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