January 27, 2022

New Research: Can Scanning Books Really Reveal if the US is Becoming More Tolerant?

From New Scientist:

The words used in millions of books show how US culture has generally become more permissive, leading to both innovation and risky behaviour.

That is according to an analysis of books published in the US between 1800 and 2000. However, the study overlooks the fact that books only encapsulate certain sections of society.

Who gets to write books is far from a level playing field. In 2016, 86 per cent of authors and writers in the US were white, according to the US Census Bureau. Many groups, including women, people who are poor and the LGBTQ community, are also under-represented. Publishing has mostly been the preserve of a privileged few, so using it to make generalisations about cultural norms doesn’t paint the full picture.

Read the Complete New Scientist Article

Direct to Research Article: “The Loosening of American Culture Over 200 Years is Associated With a Creativity–Order Trade-Off” (via Nature Human Behavior)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.