Conversation level syntax similarity metric

Reihane Boghrati, Joe Hoover, Kate M. Johnson, Justin Garten, Morteza Dehghani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The syntax and semantics of human language can illuminate many individual psychological differences and important dimensions of social interaction. Accordingly, psychological and psycholinguistic research has begun incorporating sophisticated representations of semantic content to better understand the connection between word choice and psychological processes. In this work we introduce ConversAtion level Syntax SImilarity Metric (CASSIM), a novel method for calculating conversation-level syntax similarity. CASSIM estimates the syntax similarity between conversations by automatically generating syntactical representations of the sentences in conversation, estimating the structural differences between them, and calculating an optimized estimate of the conversation-level syntax similarity. After introducing and explaining this method, we report results from two method validation experiments (Study 1) and conduct a series of analyses with CASSIM to investigate syntax accommodation in social media discourse (Study 2). We run the same experiments using two well-known existing syntactic metrics, LSM and Coh-Metrix, and compare their results to CASSIM. Overall, our results indicate that CASSIM is able to reliably measure syntax similarity and to provide robust evidence of syntax accommodation within social media discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1073
Number of pages19
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication accommodation theory
  • Linguistic style matching
  • Social media
  • Syntax priming
  • Syntax similarity
  • Text analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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