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Table 4 Comparison between the numbers and types of words used in the control and intervention groups' essays.

From: The effect of a brief social intervention on the examination results of UK medical students: a cluster randomised controlled trial

Dimensions Word categories Type of word Group with highest frequency Mean use by all students Mean group difference (control – intervention) P value
Standard linguistic dimensions Not applicable Word count intervention 416.7 -19.2 0.34
   Words per sentence control 26.9 0.27 0.74
   % dictionary words intervention 75.5 -1.1 0.04
   % words longer than 6 letters control 21.2 1.7 0.001
   Total pronouns intervention 10.9 -1.1 0.001
   I (I, my, me) intervention 5.0 -2.7 <0.001
   Self (I, we, me) intervention 5.9 -2.6 <0.001
   Other (she, their, them) control 3.3 1.4 <0.001
   Negations (no, never, not) control 1.1 0.4 <0.001
   Prepositions intervention 14.4 -0.4 0.04
   Numbers intervention 1.12 -0.3 0.001
Psychological processes Affective/emotional processes Total positive emotions intervention 2.9 -0.3 0.02
   Optimism and energy intervention 0.9 -0.4 p < 0.001
  Cognitive processes Total cognitive processes control 6.9 0.1 0.045
   Causation (because, effect, hence) control 1.1 0.4 <0.001
   Tentative (maybe, perhaps, guess) control 1.8 0.5 <0.001
  Sensory/perceptual processes Hearing intervention 0.9 -0.2 0.01
  Social processes Total social processes control 9.0 1.3 0.002
   Other people references (1 st plural, 2 nd & 3 rd person pronouns) control 2.5 0.2 <0.001
Relativity Time Total Time intervention 6.2 -1.0 <0.0001
   Past tense verb intervention 6.6 -1.1 0.001
   Present tense verb control 0.2 0.7 0.02
   Future tense verb (will, might, shall) control 1.0 0.3 <0.001
  Space Down (down, below, under) intervention 0.2 -0.1 <0.001
   Exclusive (but, except, without) control 3.7 0.6 <0.001
  Motion Motion (walk, move, go) intervention 0.9 -0.4 <0.001
Personal concerns Occupation Achieve intervention 1.1 -0.3 0.005
  Leisure activity Sports intervention 0.4 -0.3 0.02
   Music intervention 0.1 -0.1 0.05
  Metaphysical issues Total metaphysical control 0.2 0.2 0.015
   Religion control 0.2 0.2 0.02
  1. Examples of words given in parentheses. Only differences significant at the p < 0.05 level shown in the table (except word counts), and those significant at p < 0.001 in bold.