Twitter language use reflects psychological differences between Democrats and Republicans
ABSTRACT Previous research has shown that political leanings correlate with various psychological factors. While surveys and experiments provide a rich source of information for political psychology, data from social networks can perhaps offer more naturalistic and robust material for analysis. This research investigates psychological differences between individuals of different political orientations on a social networking platform, Twitter. Based on previous findings, we hypothesized that the language used by liberals emphasizes their perception of uniqueness, contains more swear words, more anxiety-related words and more feeling-related words than conservatives’ language. Conversely, we predicted that the language of conservatives emphasizes group membership, contains more certainty and more references to death, achievement and religion than liberals’ language. We analysed Twitter timelines of 5,373 followers of three Twitter accounts of the American Democratic and 5,386 followers of three accounts of the Republican parties’ Congressional Organizations. The results support most of the predictions and previous findings, confirming that Twitter behaviour offer valid insights to offline behaviour.