From the power of language to the language of power (2015)

“…simple transformations of texts … can expose unseen information reflecting a writer’s cognitive status, mental life, and even personality…

Peter Garrard, neurologist and neuroscientist at St George’s Hospital Medical School, London. Dr Garrard is also a Trustee of the Daedalus Trust.
TedxWandsworth (independently-organized TED event), 14 November 2015

“Dr Garrard …. explains how simple transformations of texts by a computer can expose unseen information reflecting a writer’s cognitive status, mental life, and even personality, at the time of composition. He refers to this approach as ‘cognitive archaeology’, and will illustrate its potential importance using examples of his own analyses and those of others whose work he has encountered along the way. He will outline past and future contributions of cognitive archaeology to literary scholarship, psychology, history, neurology and even politics.

“Dr Garrard will show how the language used by two recent British Prime Ministers reflects the onset and time course of the Hubris syndrome. He will suggest ways in which language analysis may help in monitoring personality traits of political, business and financial leaders.

“Dr Garrard’s research and clinical practice focus on dementia and its effects on speech and language. Notable research subjects include the novelist Iris Murdoch, former Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and King George III.

“More recent research has used computer algorithms to demonstrate language changes associated with political power: changes were seen in the speeches of two British politicians who developed the ‘Hubris syndrome’. This recently-described personality disorder leads to dangerous overconfidence, isolation and misjudgement in certain leaders.”

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