Gender convergence in the expressions of love: A computational analysis of lyrics

AbstractLove is a central theme in modern music, but do women and men differ in their expressions of love? Results from empirical studies on gender differences in love attitudes have evolved from showing consistent differences to more similarities over time and witnessed gender convergence in relationship expectations, housework responsibilities, and sexual attitudes. Independently, pop culture studies have shown how music can be used as a contextual artifact whose lyrics can reflect a culture's changing psychological processes and ideologies. We combine these two research areas to explore whether the gender convergence reported in psychological studies is mirrored in love songs. Using a corpus of lyrics and song metadata from 1960 to 2009, we present a computational analysis of the lexical distribution of lyrics across genre, gender and time. We show that love songs between vocalists who are men vs. women have become significantly more similar in their lyrical expressions of love.

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