Mark Serper


2019

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Linguistic Analysis of Schizophrenia in Reddit Posts
Jonathan Zomick | Sarah Ita Levitan | Mark Serper
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology

We explore linguistic indicators of schizophrenia in Reddit discussion forums. Schizophrenia (SZ) is a chronic mental disorder that affects a person’s thoughts and behaviors. Identifying and detecting signs of SZ is difficult given that SZ is relatively uncommon, affecting approximately 1% of the US population, and people suffering with SZ often believe that they do not have the disorder. Linguistic abnormalities are a hallmark of SZ and many of the illness’s symptoms are manifested through language. In this paper we leverage the vast amount of data available from social media and use statistical and machine learning approaches to study linguistic characteristics of SZ. We collected and analyzed a large corpus of Reddit posts from users claiming to have received a formal diagnosis of SZ and identified several linguistic features that differentiated these users from a control (CTL) group. We compared these results to other findings on social media linguistic analysis and SZ. We also developed a machine learning classifier to automatically identify self-identified users with SZ on Reddit.