Psycholinguistics and Threat Prediction Discussion Chapter

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Psycholinguistics and Threat Prediction: Analyzing the Words That Hurt

The purpose of the study is to conduct research into actual language and see what constitutes a presage of violence and what does not. The applications are valuable and obvious in the field of Psycholinguistics. Within the study, several approaches including game theory, threat simulation theory, options theory, lexical features, phonological features and finally syntactic features in order to answer the following questions.

What is threatening language?

Are there specific levels of escalation within threatening language?

How can these levels of escalation be determined through the language used?

How does escalation of language lead to an actual violent act?

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Within the scope of the research, there is especially a huge amount of work to be carried out in the area of game and options theory where both epistemic and frequentistic methodology has been applied to the prediction of human behavior (Jaeger, 2008, pp. 407-408). While previously game theory has provided more insightful than quantitative results for psycholinguistics, impressive results from the gambling industry where human behavior has been accurately and profitably predicted based upon the work of Harrah's CEO and former Harvard associate Dr. Gary Loveman. In Dr. Loveman's work, the Harrah's hotel and casino chain scientifically gauges and accurately predicts a specific variable in human behavior: the willingness to spend money (Metters, et. al., 2008, pp. 162-163).

Discussion Chapter on Psycholinguistics and Threat Prediction Assignment

While the Metters article centers more on the specific statistical aspects of Loveman's approach, a practical example can be shown of the effect that the research has upon the functioning of the Harrah's Casino chain on a customer service level. While not a law enforcement example, the revolutionary implications can easily be carried over into the threat arena. For instance, Loveman quotes an example of a casino customer that most of the industry would not consider a typical prospect. However, by using game theory to predict the customer's behavior, they are able specifically tailor the staff's service to match this predicted behavior and keep her coming back many more times to game and to enjoy the hotel's amenities. In this effort, they use an extensive data base that tracks customer purchases and spending in the casino, as well as gaming habits and preferances. By mining this data and using statistical analysis to process it, they have being able to accurately anticipate the customer's behavior. Harrah's can offer attractive options packages based upon that will impress the patron and attract their business (Loveman, 2003, p. 1). If one can use game theory to predict one type of human behavior such as spending and behavior in games of chance, one should be able to predict violent behavior of potential and active perpetrators. Dr. Loveman and his company is not just a scientific, but also a financial success.

It is the opinion of this author that it would be profitable to apply this approach of analysis to provide more accuracy to the field of linguistics and to not just profile, but accurately predict the behavior of a potentially threatening communication, such as an outburst or a phone call from the threatening person. Certainly, if it works in the gaming industry, it has a wide variety of applications in other areas as well by using the same quantitative methodologies. Basically, the above approach would provide a more accurate set of data points to threat simulation theory, options theory, lexical features, phonological features and finally syntactic features so that we can accurately answer the research questions we have… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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