Improving the language of influence

D. B. Skillicorn, C. Leuprecht

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


We show that the language used by U.S. presidential candidates over the past twenty years has an underlying temporal structure associated with electoral success, with the most influential language used by incumbents in their second campaign and the least by losers in a first-cycle open campaign. Influential language is characterized by increased positivity, complete absence of negativity, increased abstraction, and lack of reference to the opposing candidate(s). The way in which language use changes suggests that it is the result of changing self-perception rather than a deliberate strategy. This has implications for the language of influence as deployed by violent extremist groups, suggesting that both success at convincing an audience to participate in violent extremism and the presence of competing groups trying to make similar arguments improve the quality of the influencing language they use. Copyright 2013 ACM.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2013


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