Nicholas Haslam


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Evaluation of Semantic Change of Harm-Related Concepts in Psychology
Ekaterina Vylomova | Sean Murphy | Nicholas Haslam
Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change

The paper focuses on diachronic evaluation of semantic changes of harm-related concepts in psychology. More specifically, we investigate a hypothesis that certain concepts such as “addiction”, “bullying”, “harassment”, “prejudice”, and “trauma” became broader during the last four decades. We evaluate semantic changes using two models: an LSA-based model from Sagi et al. (2009) and a diachronic adaptation of word2vec from Hamilton et al. (2016), that are trained on a large corpus of journal abstracts covering the period of 1980– 2019. Several concepts showed evidence of broadening. “Addiction” moved from physiological dependency on a substance to include psychological dependency on gaming and the Internet. Similarly, “harassment” and “trauma” shifted towards more psychological meanings. On the other hand, “bullying” has transformed into a more victim-related concept and expanded to new areas such as workplaces.