Lexical tendencies of high and low barrier personalities in narratives of everyday and dream memories

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The use of computerized content analysis has encouraged great interest in the assessment of personality. Given the psychological importance of body boundaries in the maintenance and regulation of the self, this study aimed to assess the lexical tendencies of High and Low Barrier personalities (Fisher & Cleveland, 1956, 1958), as measured using the BTD (Wilson, 2006), with regard to lexical frequencies, as classified by the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) (Pennebaker, Booth, & Francis, 2007). Consistent with previous research that has identified an association between body boundary imagery and regressive cognitive functioning in autobiographical memories, the results of this study showed that High Barrier personalities used higher frequencies of semantic content associated with primordial mental activity, such as group references, somatosensory processes, and spatial references. In contrast, Low Barrier personalities showed increased use of semantic content related to conceptual thought, such as self-reference, as well as affective and cognitive processes. The discussion conceptualizes the identified lexical tendencies in High and Low Barrier personalities by drawing on various cognitive and social psychological theories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-161
Number of pages29
JournalImagination, Cognition and Personality: Consciousness in Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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