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Jacob Montgomery co-authors with Messi H. J. Lee and Calvin Lai in PNAS Nexus

Messi H. J. Lee, Jacob Montgomery, and Calvin Lai have published their latest research in PNAS Nexus: "America's Racial Framework of Superiority and Americanness Embedded in Natural Language." Read the article here.

Abstract: America's racial framework can be summarized using two distinct dimensions: superiority/inferiority and Americanness/foreignness. We investigated America's racial framework in a corpus of spoken and written language using word embeddings. Word embeddings place words on a low-dimensional space where words with similar meanings are proximate, allowing researchers to test whether the positions of group and attribute words in a semantic space reflect stereotypes. We trained a word embedding model on the Corpus of Contemporary American English—a corpus of 1 billion words that span 30 years and 8 text categories—and compared the positions of racial/ethnic groups with respect to superiority and Americanness. We found that America's racial framework is embedded in American English. We also captured an additional nuance: Asian people were stereotyped as more American than Hispanic people. These results are empirical evidence that America's racial framework is embedded in American English.

Messi H. J. Lee is a fourth-year PhD Candidate at Washington University in St. Louis, specializing in the Psychological & Brain Sciences track within the Division of Computational and Data Sciences. Lee is a primary graduate student at the Diversity Science Lab. Follow their research here.

Jacob Montgomery is Professor of Political Science, Chair of the Political Science Track for Division of Computational and Data Sciences, and is the Director of TRIADS.

Calvin Lai is Associate Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences.