Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2011). 32(5), 288–292. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000092 SIEC No: 20231037
Henry Hellyer was an accomplished surveyor and explorer in Australia in the early 1800s whose apparent suicide at the age of 42 has puzzled historians for generations. He left behind several written works, including letters, journals, and reports. Aims: The current study assessed changes in the ways Hellyer used words in his various written documents during the last 7 years of his life. Methods: Hellyer's writings were analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count program. Results: Hellyer showed increases in first-person singular pronoun use, decreases in first-person plural pronoun use, and increases in negative emotion word use. As this is a single, uncontrolled case study, caution is recommended in generalizing from the current results. Conclusions: Results suggest Hellyer's increasing self-focused attention, social isolation, and negative emotion. Findings are consistent with increasing depression and suicidal ideation. Implications for using computerized text analysis to decode people's psychological states from their written records are discussed.