Language Across Cultures

PI: Leah Windsor
Co-PIs: Art Graesser and Carl Cai
"A Computational Assessment of Social Disequilibrium and Security Threats"
Department of Defense (Minerva Initiative
Awarded: $1.2 million
Dates: 9/14-8/17 plus additional two option years
Website: https://sites.google.com/view/leahcwindsor/home


Confusion During LearningOur project will continue work from a previous NSF Minerva grant Modeling Discourse and Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes (#0904909) to analyze the speech of international actors to detect motives, identify threats, and find predictive patterns of language and behavior. Our project has three components: identifying language patterns related to armed political crises; identifying bluffs and threats pertinent to both national and international security; and analyzing the relationship between language and contentious behavior like protests, riots, and rebellions. We want to extend our analysis beyond the existing corpora which focus heavily on China and the Middle East/North Africa regions to encompass Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, where there are growing security threats and ample opportunities to collect and analyze linguistic data.


  • Modeling Discourse and Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes. Funding Agency: NSF. $582,000.

Selected Publications:

  • Graesser, A.C., & McNamara, D.S. (2011). Computational analyses of multilevel discourse comprehension. Topics in Cognitive Science, 3, 371-398.
  • Graesser, A.C., McNamara, D.S., & Kulikowich, J. (2011). Coh-Metrix: Providing multilevel analyses of text characteristics. Educational Researcher, 40, 223-234.
  • Hancock, J.T., Beaver, D.I., Chung, C.K., Frazee, J., Pennebaker, J.W., Graesser, A., & Cai, Z. (2010). Social language processing: A framework for analyzing the communication of terrorists and authoritarian regimes. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 2, 108-132.
  • McNamara, D.S., Graesser, A.C., McCarthy, P.M., Cai, Z. (in press). Automated evaluation of text and discourse with Coh-Metrix. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Shala, L., Rus, V., & Graesser, A. C. (2010). Automated speech act classification in Arabic. Subjetividad y Procesos Cognitivos, 14, 284-292.