PSY 341K Text Analysis for Behavioral Data Science

Department of Psychology
The University of Texas at Austin

Spring 2024


Desmond Ong, Assistant Professor
  Contact: desmond (dot) ong (at)
  (Please include “[PSY 341K: Text Analysis]” in your email title)

Class Details

  Class Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30am-11:00am
  Location: SEA 2.108


University Catalog Course Description

People are generating enormous amounts of natural language data in today's digital society, ranging from social media and blogs to forums and product reviews, speeches and news stories. Such natural language text is written by people, and thus can provide insights into their psychology: how they feel about an issue, what kind of people they are, and even how they might behave. This course will introduce students to various methods of text analysis, with a focus on extracting psychological insights. In addition to learning a range of text analysis methods, we will also be discussing the underlying scientific basis that supports various use-cases. The course will be practical and involve substantial coding and implementation as part of homework assignments as well as a semester-long group project. Sample topics include: sentiment analysis, health, online misinformation. Sample Methods include: word-count methods such as sentiment lexicons and the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (developed here at UT!); statistical natural language processing tools (e.g., nltk); deep-learning-based Large Language Models (LLMs).

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course:

  • Students will be able to appreciate the underlying theoretical basis for extracting psychological insights from text.
  • Students will be familiar with and able to execute various text analysis methods.
  • Students will apply the concepts learnt in class in a class project on text analysis.


We welcome feedback on the course at any point. Feel free to email the instructor directly, or leave anonymous feedback by using the anonymous Google form (URL given in class).

Class Project

The class group project offers you an opportunity to coalesce all that you have learnt and apply it in a project of your choice. You would have to do a proper literature review, come up with research questions, obtain access to data, apply or modify a method learnt in class, analyze the results, and discuss the inferences.

More information will be provided in class.

Other courses of interest

Other courses at UTexas: (Do also check out the UT Austin NLP and Computational Linguistics group)

Especially for students that are interested in a much more technical treatment, please also have a look at:

Previous Offerings of this course