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Wed Oct 30, 2013, 08:54 AM

Then Some More Fun Gender Research! On Textual Analysis of Gender in Emails. Or on Water Rats.

To explain why I write about this particular study, I have to mention the sites which picked it up hot from the oven. They are a physics site and a tech site (you might not want to read the comments there). Someone then brought the study to me the way my mom's cat used to bring her water rats: Like a prize but not really. In my case it was more like: See? Women and men are really very different and it's physics and tech guys who are interested in this matter, possibly because they want to tell us that women aren't in the STEM careers because of biological gender differences.

The study (pdf), however, is not about biological gender differences, or at least cannot prove that the differences it argues it found are biological. It isn't even about mathematics or tech! It has to do with a textual analysis of Enron management e-mails when it comes to emotions! A girly topic, really, but whatever.

The Enron managers' e-mails are publicly available, and that's probably why they were picked for the analysis of gender differences in the language people use in e-mails. The here-relevant conclusions of the study:
We show that there are marked differences across genders in how they use emotion words in work-place email. For example, women use many words from the joy-sadness axis, whereas men prefer terms from the fear-trust axis.
The e-mails used in the research came from the Enron corpus which contains more than 200,000 e-mails. Sounds very impressive, right? One can do a lot of statistical analysis with that amount of data.


So basically, Enron managers by gender, if female, are happy/sad and men are scared/brave/paranoid? Actually-- read the study, actually quite amusing, in that water-rat way.

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