Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

1136

Date

2014

Date of Award

4-25-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Psychology

Committee Chair

Arthur C. Graesser

Committee Member

Leah C. Windsor

Committee Member

Hu Xiangen

Abstract

The present research investigated the linguistic patterns in the discourse of three prominent autocratic political leaders whose reigns lasted for multiple decades. The texts of Fidel Castro, Zedong Mao, and Hosni Mubarak were analyzed using computational linguistic methodologies and nonlinear modeling techniques to explore the temporal trajectory of formality over time. Specifically, this metric of formality increases with abstractness of words, syntactic complexity, cohesion (referential and deep), and the informational genre (as opposed to narrative). At the other end of the continuum, informal discourse tends to have concrete words, simple syntax, low cohesion and high narrativity. The findings are aligned with theoretically grounded hypotheses of aging and persuasion in hopes of identifying which most appropriately explains the formality of leaders’ political texts.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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