DeDeo, Simon

Scheffer et al.’s ( 1 ) exciting new work reports an historic rearrangement, occurring in the late 20th century, of the balance between reason and emotion. Its approach is part of a new trend in the psychological sciences that uses extremely large volumes of text to study basic patterns of human cognition. Recent work in this vein has included studies of the universal properties of gender representations ( 2 ), the rise of causal thinking ( 3 ), and a cognitive bias towards positivity in language itself ( 4 ). The goal of going “from text to thought” ( 5 ) is an attractive one, and the promise of the machine learning era is that we will only get better at extracting the imprints left, in text, by the mechanisms of the mind.