While it would be nice to see this work replicated, using a greater corpus of authors, the idea that a writer’s style can be quantified using relatively simple word-count techniques is not a new one. Jamie Pennebaker, for example, has demonstrated that language use is an individual difference that can be used to predict a wide variety of things, including health outcomes and personality (e.g., Pennebaker & Graybeal, 2001). That our style of writing reflects something innate to our self and being, in a very real way, probably comes as no surprise to those of us who write. It is comforting, however, that this is not mere intuition but a phenomenon profound enough in magnitude to be detected using relatively crude research methods. It would be interesting to examine how a person’s writing style changes, and how these changes might reflect changes in the individual as a result of personal growth or encounters with unfortunate happenstance.
Bernhardsson, S., Correa da Rocha, L. E., & Minnhagen, P. (2009). The meta book and size-dependent properties of written language. New Journal of Physics, 11, 123015. (Online journal)