Shame on you! A Computational Linguistic Analysis of Shame Expressions

AbstractThe current study explored the unique linguistic characteristics of the self-conscious emotion shame. The data used for the analyses were part of two larger studies in which semi-structured interview techniques were used that had learners describe shameful or frustrating experiences in the context of psychology and engineering courses. Results revealed when describing an experience of shame, learners use significantly more positive emotional words, significantly more words associated with anxiety, and significantly fewer words associated with anger. Additionally, learners use simpler syntax, more abstract words, and have less cohesive speech. Educational implications are discussed.

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