Norms of Valence, Arousal, and Dominance

We hear it all the time, words have power. It’s said in the same tone of voice used to express warm fuzzes like ‘Follow your Dreams’ and ‘Don’t give up before the miracle happens.’ And there’s always a lot of overly white teeth involved.

The study resulted in the compiling of over 13k words, measuring them for their effectiveness to induce the reader in three ways, by the level of Valence experienced, the level of Arousal induced, and the level of Dominance felt.

In these studies the three categories have particular meaning. Valence, in this case did not refer to a biological event of cellular adaption, but rather the calm, assured sensation of a person with no problems and at ease in their home.

Dominance is the measure of the weight of authority the word held and passed on to the reader. The highest word in this category turned out to be ‘parade’, and given this some thought, I find it makes sense. How often have you found yourself blocked on a street or forced to move your car, because of a parade? It’s like a storm event. There is no argument, no action to pit against it with your angst. A parade is a civic celebration. It’s without peer or exploitable weakness. It is an Inevitable — the sane and even a level of the troubled are well aware of the certainty that there is nothing  you can do except wait, and perhaps watch.  If you choose to, fine, but  first move your damn car or it will be towed.

Arousal is meant in the first sense of the WordNet definition; the arousal of emotion. It is a measure of the stirring, the inspiration, the incitement the reader is unwittingly transposed to experience, in order to keep their feet. It’s the sudden gust of disarray. The measure of each word’s entropy, the intrinsic chaos of its mass. The tocsin that blares in the night to alarm and alert; tossing people from sleep to awareness; incited to engaged forces, rising to enslave and diminish their lives.

Information about the affective meanings of words is used by researchers working on emotions and moods, word recognition and memory, and text-based sentiment analysis. Three components of emotions are traditionally distinguished: valence (the pleasantness of a stimulus), arousal (the intensity of emotion provoked by a stimulus), and dominance (the degree of control exerted by a stimulus). Thus far, nearly all research has been based on the ANEW norms collected by Bradley and Lang (1999) for 1,034 words. We extended that database to nearly 14,000 English lemmas, providing researchers with a much richer source of information, including gender, age, and educational differences in emotion norms. As an example of the new possibilities, we included stimuli from nearly all of the category norms (e.g., types of diseases, occupations, and taboo words) collected by Van Overschelde, Rawson, and Dunlosky (Journal of Memory and Language 50:289-335, 2004), making it possible to include affect in studies of semantic memory.

(Read the full study here.)                  ( Data from the Study)

Other studies have been done, which were tooled up for these measurements, and had some success, but coming up short with the resulting size of the vocabulary produced. The largest before now were only successful in gathering 3000 words. This study has over 13k, and several studies have been able to reproduce the results, verifying the base.

While their motivation is geared toward increasing the prospect and value of Artificial Life, — for machines to understand, to comprehend our ideas through the interface of speech and language, what is here, shown in this study, could be a the beginning of a skill set that could help man to understand himself and others. The daunting task of learning language, a purely abstract concept where without vast experience the language itself is crippled by intrinsic contradictions and menacing flaws,– understanding the ‘gist’ of a conversation and knowing what tags best account o the topical points is not enough. On a planet whose nature is vicious and wants us dead, to learn beyond the norm and compel the norm to understand that without nature we are dooming now what was only prediction before. What if we could by use of our language talk to ourselves? What if words were more than sound but the vibrations able to counter rage and angst. What if we had a means of standing in areas where hate, ignorance, and denial ruled the day through bludgeoning others into silence with three-word alternate-truths and marching rhymes — to offer respite to others, to show the way out, to offer a salve for the blows? To calm the frustration and allow hope to linger. It is here. This is not it, not yet, but it’s further than we are seeing now.

Arouse Valence Dominance
alarm vacation paradise
diarrhea happiness win
shipwreck happy incredible
climax fun self
craziness enjoyment completion
exhilarating Christmas smile
murderer fantastic successful
dangerous lovable rejoice
kill free thinker
nigger magical entrepreneur
payday hug project
rich joyful kind
assault joy tranquility
bulletproof delight friendly
pleasure relaxing dressy
sexy honest ownership
speed sunshine particular
striptease excited genuine
tragedy lover triumph
fatal laughter upbeat
handgun courageous shower

The full table where the original was used to create this much smaller and open for manipulation and ease is on an Google Sheets page. The query I used to crate them lifted form the database those words measured at .49 or higher in their category.The table data file created from this study is relevant, but for day to day use while Novel novel while writing is notable and possibly hazardous, — a trimming  became a required action.

you can find that Google Sheet with this hyper link. 

Emotional ratings of words are in high demand because they are used in at least four lines of research. The first of these lines concerns research on the emotions themselves: the ways in which they are produced and perceived, their internal structure, and the consequences that they have for human behavior. For instance, Verona, Sprague, and Sadeh (2012) used emotionally neutral and negative words in an experiment comparing the responses of offenders without a personality disorder to those of offenders with an antisocial personality disorder who either did or did not have additional psychopathic traits.

The second line of research deals with the impact that emotional features have on the processing and memory of words. Kousta, Vinson, and Vigliocco (2009) found that participants responded faster to positive and negative words than to neutral words in a lexical-decision experiment, a finding later replicated by Scott, O’Donnell, and Sereno (2012) in sentence reading. According to Kousta, Vigliocco, Vinson, Andrews, and Del Campo (2011), emotion is particularly important in the semantic representations of abstract words. In other research, Fraga, Piñeiro, Acuña-Fariña, Redondo, and García-Orza (2012) reported that emotional words are more likely to be used as attachment sites for relative clauses in sentences such as “Someone shot the servant of the actress who. . . .”

A third approach uses emotional ratings of words to estimate the sentiments expressed by entire messages or texts. Leveau, Jhean-Larose, Denhière, and Nguyen (2012), for instance, wrote a computer program to estimate the valence and arousal evoked by texts on the basis of word measures (see also Liu, 2012).

Finally, emotional ratings of words are used to automatically estimate the emotional values of new words by comparing them to those of validated words. Bestgen and Vincze (2012) gauged the affective values of 17,350 words by using the rated values of words that were semantically related.

I have high hopes for these worth-wild, words. These Wordthy tools of connection.


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