Cultural Influences on the Measurement of Personal Values through Words

Steven Wilson, Rada Mihalcea, Ryan Boyd, James Pennebaker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Texts posted on the web by users from diverse cultures provide a nearly endless source of data that researchers can use to study human thoughts and language patterns. However, unless care is taken to avoid it, models may be developed in one cultural setting and deployed in another, leading to unforeseen consequences. We explore the effects of using models built from a corpus of texts from multiple cultures in order to learn about each represented people group separately. To do this, we employ a topic modeling approach to quantify open-ended writing responses describing personal values and everyday behaviors in two distinct cultures. We show that some topics are more prominent in one culture compared to the other, while other topics are mentioned to similar degrees. Furthermore, our results indicate that culture influences how value-behavior relationships are exhibited. While some relationships exist in both cultural groups, in most cases we see that the observed relations are dependent on the cultural background of the data set under examination.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 2016 AAAI Spring Symposium Series
Subtitle of host publicationA compilation containing the 7 technical reports of the AAAI 2016 Spring Symposium
PublisherAmerican Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-1-57735-754-4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2016
EventThe Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence 2016 Spring Symposia - Stanford University, Stanford, United States
Duration: 21 Mar 201623 Mar 2016


SymposiumThe Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence 2016 Spring Symposia
Abbreviated titleAAAI/SSS 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • values
  • culture
  • meaning extraction method
  • natural language processing

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