Selected Pennebaker Reprints


This page allows you to see or download a number of papers that are either published, in press, or in draft form.


Other links of interest:

Pennebaker home page.  A gateway to the lab group, classes, and additional research information

Reference List page.  A reasonably complete reference list of writing/disclosure articles by a number of different researchers.

Questionnaire page.  Some questionnaires that we have developed.


Boyd, R.L., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2015).  Did Shakespeare write Double Falsehood? Identifying individuals by creating psychological signatures with text analysis.  Psychological Science, online version April 8, doi:10.1177/0956797614566658.  Using LIWC, meaning extraction, and machine learning, it is possible to build a smart approach to author identification.


Campbell, R.S., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2003). The secret life of pronouns: Flexibility in writing style and physical health. Psychological Science, 14, 60-65. Using Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA), it was found that changes in the ways people use pronouns when writing about traumatic experience was a powerful predictor of changes in physician visits in three previously-published writing projects.


Chung, C.K. & Pennebaker, J.W. (2007).  The psychological function of function words.  In K. Fiedler (Ed.), Social communication: Frontiers of social psychology (pp 343-359).  New York: Psychology Press.  A summary of recent findings concerning the links between pronouns, prepositions, and other function words with markers of social and personality processes.


Chung, C.K. & Pennebaker, J.W. (2008).  Revealing dimensions of thinking in open-ended self-descriptions: An automated meaning extraction method for natural language.  Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 96-132.  By using a factor analytic method on content-related words, it is possible to extract meaning from samples of text files.  These language dimensions are linked to personality.


Cohn, M.A., Mehl, M.R., & Pennebaker, J.W.  (2004).  Linguistic markers of psychological change surrounding September 11, 2001. Psychological Science, 15, 687-693. An analysis of over 1000 people who wrote online journals in the weeks before and after September 11.


Davison, K.P, Pennebaker, J.W., & Dickerson, S.S. (2000). Who talks? The social psychology of illness support groups. American Psychologist, 55, 205-217. An analysis of internet and real world support groups for 20 different diseases.


Ireland, M.E., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2010).  Language style matching in writing: Synchrony in essays, correspondence, and poetry.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,  99,  549-571.  Demonstrates the basic properties of language style matching (LSM).  People naturally entrain to the function word usage of others.  Across multiple media, the more they pay attention to and emotionally connect with others, the higher the LSM.


Ireland, M.E., Slatcher, R.B., Eastwick, P.W., Scissors, L.E., Finkel, E.J., & Pennebaker, J.W.  (2011).  Language style matching predicts relationship initiation and stability. Psychological Science, online version, December 13, 2010. doi:10.1177/0956797610392928.   Two studies demonstrate that language style matching in the natural conversation of couples in speed dating predicts future dating behavior and, in instant messaging between young dating couples, predicts the stability of the relationship three months later.


Kacewicz, E., Pennebaker, J.W., Davis, M., Moongee, J., & Graesser, A.C. (2013). Pronoun use reflects standings in social hierarchies. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 33, 125-143. doi: 10.1177/0261927X1350265. Five studies demonstrate that high status people use I-words less and you-words and we-words more than lower-status individuals.


Laserna, C.M., Seih, Y., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2014). Um... Who says "you know": Filler word use as a function of age, gender, and personality. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 33, 328-338. doi:10.1177/0261927X14526993. In everyday language, people between 18-25 years old use filler words at much higher rates than older individuals. These effects are stronger for females than males. Only modest personality effects emerge.


Linguist Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC2007). The LIWC2007 computer text analysis program is an updated version of LIWC2001.  The actual program can be purchased from _However, the two manuals are available here:

                    Pennebaker, J.W., Booth, R.E., & Francis, M.E. (2007).  Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count: LIWC2007 – Operator’s manual.  Austin, TX:

                    Pennebaker, J.W., Chung, C.K., Ireland, M., Gonzales, A., & Booth, R.J.  (2007).  The development and psychometric properties of LIWC2007.  Austin, TX:


Mehl, M.R. & Pennebaker, J.W. (2003).  The social dynamics of a cultural upheaval: Social interactions surrounding September 11, 2001. Psychological Science, 14, 579-585.  An analysis of 11 people who wore the EAR prior to and for 10 days after September 11.


Mehl, M.R. & Pennebaker, J.W. (2003). The sounds of social life: A psychometric analysis of students' daily social environments and natural conversations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 857-870. Using the EAR (see below), it is possible to assess the basic psychometric properties of the ways people select their environments and use language in natural settings.


Mehl, M.R., Vazire, S., Ramirez-Esparza, N., Slatcher, R.B., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2007).  Are women really more talkative than men? Science, 316, 82. (Including supplemental materials).  Across six EAR studies with college students in the U.S. and Mexico, tape-recorded conversations over several days reveal that both men and women say about 16,000 words per day.  Women and men don’t differ in talking rates.


Newman, M.L., Groom, C.J., Handelman, L.D., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2008).  Gender differences in language use: An analysis of 14,000 text samples.  Discourse Processes, 45, 211-236.  Women and men use langauge differently and talk about different things. Women use words that reflect social concerns; men refer to more concrete objects and impersonal topics.


Newman, M.L., Pennebaker, J.W., Berry, D.S., & Richards, J.M. (2003). Lying words: Predicting deception from linguistic style. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 665-675. An analysis of 5 studies where participants lied and/or told the truth. Truth-tellers use more 1st person singular words, markers of cognitive complexity, and fewer negative emotion words.


Pennebaker, J.W. (1994). Hints on running a writing experiment. Unpublished manual. This is a general how-to manual that will help the individual in designing a disclosure experiment -- with particular attention to measurement.


Pennebaker, J.W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8, 162-166. A brief overview of the nature of the writing paradigm and its effects on physical health.


Pennebaker, J.W. (1982). The psychology of physical symptoms. New York: Springer-Verlag. Warning: This is very large file since it is the entire book that is now out of print.


Pennebaker, J.W. (2003). Social physics: The metaphorical application of principles of physics to social behavior. Unpublished manuscript, University of Texas at Austin. A short position paper about the idea of social physics. The central idea is that the ways humans and other organisms use space can be modelled by applying Newtonian rules of gravity, mass, motion, etc.


Pennebaker, J.W. (2004). Theories, therapies, and taxpayers: On the complexities of the expressive writing paradigm. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 138-142. A review of recent research and thinking about expressive writing. No one theory explains it. In evaluating expressive writing, we need to be attentive to economically-relevant outcome measures, i.e., think of research from the taxpayers' perspective.


Pennebaker, J.W. (2010).  Expressive writing in a clinical setting. The Independent Practitioner, 30, 23-25.  A brief practical guide to expressive writing for therapists and counselors.


Pennebaker, J.W. & Chung, C.K. (2011). Expressive writing and its links to mental and physical health. In H. Friedman (Ed.), Oxford handbook of health psychology. New York , NY : Oxford. A general summary of expressive writing research.


Pennebaker, J.W., Chung, C.K., Frazee, J., Lavergne, G.M., & Beaver, D.I. (2014).  When small words foretell academic success: The case of college admissions essays. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115844. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115844.  Introduces the CDI or categorical-dynamic index to predict grade point average from admissions essays four years later.


Pennebaker, J.W., & Gonzales, A.(2008).  Making history: Social and psychological processes underlying collective memory. In J.V. Wertsch and P. Boyer (Eds.), Collective memory (pp. 110-129).  New York: Cambridge University Press.


Pennebaker, J.W., Gosling, S.D., & Ferrell, J.D. (2013). Daily online testing in large classes: Boosting college performance while reducing achievement gaps. PLoS ONE, November 20, 2013. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.007977. An in-class online software system was developed that allowed for 901 students to take daily class benchmark quzzes. In comparison with traditionally-taught and graded exams by the same instructors, students performed better in the psychology class as well as the other classes they took that semester and the subsequent semester. Differences in the performance of upper-middle and lower-middle class students were reduced.


Pennebaker, J.W., Groom, C.J., Loew, D., & Dabbs, J.M.  (2004).  Testosterone as a social inhibitor: Two case studies of the effect of testosterone treatment on language. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 172-175. The personal diary or outgoing emails of two people (one a female-to-male transexual; another a heterosexual male) undergoing testosterone treatment were tracked over 1-2 years.  LIWC analyses found that testosterone injections suppressed participants’ reference to other people.


Pennebaker, J.W., Kiecolt-Glaser, J., & Glaser, R. (1988). Disclosure of traumas and immune function: Health implications for psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 239-245. The first writing study to demonstrate that disclosure of emotional upheavals can influence immune function.


Pennebaker, J.W. & King, L.A. (1999). Linguistic styles: Language use as an individual difference. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1296-1312. A series of studies that reveal how language use reflects personality, health, and social behaviors.


Pennebaker, J.W., Mehl, M.R., & Niederhoffer, K. (2003). Psychological aspects of natural language use: Our words, our selves. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 547-577. A general review of text analysis approaches in the social sciences -- with primary attention to word count strategies. This extensive literature review also summarizes work linking pronouns, prepositions, and other particles to social, personality, and clinical psychology.


Pennebaker, J.W., Paez, D., Deschamps, J.C., Rentfrow, J., Davis, M., Techio, E.M., Slawuta, P., Zlobina, A., & Zubieta, E. (2006). The social psychology of history: Defining the most important events of the last 10, 100, and 1000 years.  Psicologia Politica, 32, 15-32. A summary of a large cross-cultural project wherein students reported on significant national and cultural events.


Pennebaker, J.W. & Stone, L.D. (2003).  Words of wisdom: Language use over the lifespan.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 291-301.  As people age, the words they use in everyday language changes.  This is based on analysis of over 3000 individuals writing about emotional topics and the collected works of 10 famous authors.


Petrie, K.J., Pennebaker, J.W., & Sivertsen, B. (2008). The things we said today: A linguistic analysis of the Beatles.  Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2, 197-202.  A language analysis of the history of the Beatles, including a comparison of the lyrics of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison.


Richards, J.M., Beal, W.E., Seagal, J., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2000). The effects of disclosure of traumatic events on illness behavior among psychiatric prison inmates. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109, 156-160. Writing about traumatic experiences improves the health of maximum security inmates -- especially those convicted of sexual crimes.


Ramirez-Esparza, N., Gosling, S.D., Benet-Martinez, V., Potter, J., & Pennebaker, J.W.  (2005).  Do bilinguals have two personalities? A special case of frame switching.  Journal of Research in Personality.  When bilinguals switch languages, their personalities subtly change.


Roberts, T.A. & Pennebaker, J.W. (1995). Women's and men's strategies in perceiving internal state. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 27 (pp 143-176). New York: Academic Press. Women and men perceive their bodies, symptoms, and physical health differently. We propose that women rely more on external situational cues relative to men.


Rude, S.S., Gortner, E.M., & Pennebaker, J.W.  (2004).  Language use of depressed and depression-vulnerable college students. Cognition and Emotion, 18, 1121-1133. Depressed students use more first person singular pronouns than never-depressed when writing about their college experiences. Formerly-depressed students initially use few pronouns but, by the end of the writing exercise, use pronouns like currently-depressed students.


Seih, Y., Chung, C.K., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2011).  Experimental manipulations of perspective taking and perspective switching in expressive writing.  Cognition and Emotion, 25, 926-938.  Two studies found the writing in the first person singular was most beneficial across different ways of perspective taking or perspective switching.


Slatcher, R.B. & Pennebaker, J.W. (2006).  How do I love thee? Let me count the words: The social effects of expressive writing.  Psychological Science, 17, 660-664.  A study using expressive writing that finds that people who write about their relationship are more likely to remain in that relationship.  Also, the analysis of Instant Messages (IMs) finds that certain word-use patterns correlates with relationship success.


Spera, S.P., Buhrfeind, E.D., & Pennebaker, J.W. (1994). Expressive writing and coping with job loss. Academy of Management Journal, 37, 722-733. High level engineers who lost their jobs were more likely to be re-employed if they wrote about their job loss than those who either did not write or who wrote about time management.


Stirman, S.W., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2001). Word use in the poetry of suicidal and non-suicidal poets. Psychosomatic Medicine 63, 517-522. A text analysis of the poetry of poets who committed suicide vs a matched control who did not -- promising evidence for the power of linguistic tools to understand psychological state.


Tausczik, Y., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2010). The psychological meaning of words: LIWC and computerized text analysis methods.  Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 29, 24-54.  A broad summary of the LIWC dimensions and how they are related to various psychological states.  A must read for the LIWC researcher.


Tausczik, Y.R., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2013).  Improving teamwork using real-time language feedback.  CHI 2013, ACM 978-1-4503-1899-0/13/04.  Small online working groups received real-time feedback based on computer analyses of their language use.


Watson, D. & Pennebaker, J.W. (1989).  Health complaints, stress, and disease: Exploring the central role of negative affectivity.  Psychological Review, 96, 234-254. Self-reports of stress and physical symptoms are often colored by people’s general Negative Affectivity (NA) or neuroticism.