A new study examining differences in the language used in almost 40 million tweets suggests national stereotypes – Canadians tend to be kind and beautiful while Americans are negative and intrusive – they are reflected on Twitter, even if those stereotypes are not always accurate .
McMaster's linguistic experts have used Twitter, one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, in order to better understand national identity at the mass scale and where stereotypes can originate.
The researchers isolated the words, emotions, and emotions that are mostly disproportionately used on Twitter by individuals from every country.
Findings published online today in the journal PLOS ONE, suggest that national stereotypes are founded – at least partially – in the words we choose. The work is based on a previous survey from 2016, when the same team analyzed 3 million tweets.
"The most recognizable choice of words for Americans and Canadians on Twitter portray a very accurate and familiar picture of the stereotypes we associate with people from these countries," says Daniel Schmidke, co-author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at McMaster.
Canadians were far more positive on Twitter using words such as: great, grateful, good, amazing and happy. Americans tend to use more negative words like: hate, miss, madness, feeling, tear, tired. Americans preferred emotion, while Canadians preferred emotions. Americans also used more people like "lol", "idk" and "af".
"It's tempting to think that Canadians are tweeting very nicely than Americans because they are really fond of Americans," said Bryr Snegelya, lead author of the study and a graduate student at the Reading Laboratory at the Macmaster Department of Linguistics and Languages, which was supervised by another co-author of the study, Victor Kuperman.
"But when we put all the data together, it suggests that something more complex happens," he says. The breast is that other studies examined by many Canadians and Americans have consistently shown that such national stereotypes are incorrect. There is no firm evidence to support that the average features of the American and average characteristic of Canada's personality are different.
"The behavior of Twitter that we observe does not actually reflect the real profile of a person in an average American or Canadian," Schmidke said.
For further research, they exposed participants to the learning of the most characteristic words and emotions of each nation. The participants were not told anything about how the words were selected. Then they asked what is the personality of someone who often uses most American and most Canadian words and emotions.
The results? One who uses many Canadian words has a person who coincides with the stereotype in Canadian, and someone who uses many American words has a person that coincides with the stereotype of an American.
The team claims that their results show a strategy for building identity in action: Canadians and Americans can create their national character on a stereotype through their use of language.
In the future, researchers hope to compare other stereotypes between people in different groups of countries.
True men do not say "cute": psychologists touch big data and Twitter to analyze the accuracy of stereotypes
PLOS ONE (2018). journals.plos.org/plosone/arti … journal.pone.0206188