Instructions for Using EffectCheck® Software

Introduction

EffectCheck is easy to use. To begin, login to your account by clicking on "Sign In" on the main page at www.effectcheck.com. Enter your account information (user name and password), and click "Log On." On the main page, click on "Editor" and you’ll go straight to the EffectCheck editor page.

Using EffectCheck Editor

EffectCheck comes with a built-in editor tool. It is a simple word processing editor that allows you to paste in the content you would like EffectCheck to assess. We’ve preloaded the editor with Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. You can cut, copy, paste, highlight, and otherwise edit text in the EffectCheck editor just as you would with any other common word processing tool.

Assessing Your Writing

When you are ready to have EffectCheck assess your writing, you should select the type of communication that you are assessing. Use the pull-down menu that appears next to Document Type on the EffectCheck editor page. Subscribers to the personal version of EffectCheck can utilize categories associated with personal communication. Subscribers to the corporate/professional version of EffectCheck can access all of categories for personal subscribers, as well as many other categories that are associated with business and professional writing.

Once you have selected your category, click on "Run EffectCheck."

EffectCheck will then process your text and display a histogram for the six emotional scales that the software evaluates: anxiety, hostility, depression, confidence, compassion, and happiness. For example, here’s what EffectCheck displays when scoring the Gettysburg Address under the category of Political Speech.

Effect Check Score

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address evokes very high levels of depression lexically, as compared to other political speeches, but it also evokes very high levels of compassion and happiness relative to political speeches in general.

As indicated under the histogram, you can click on a column in the chart to highlight words that score in that specific emotion. For example, if you click on the dark blue depression column, you will see this:

Gettysberg Address Depression

Alternatively, if you click on the green compassion bar, you will see this:

Gettysberg Address Compassion

Note that words that have a stronger valence ("evoked value") are in bold font. All words are assessed on a 4-point scale, with 4 being highest. Words that score 3 or 4 are shown in bold.

Information in the Histogram

The histogram shows the overall assessment on each of the six emotional scales. If desired, you can mouse over any column and also see the exact average points per word on each scale. For example, if you mouse over compassion when viewing the Gettysburg Address, you’ll see:

Histogram

This means that averaged across all words in the document, the total sum of compassion scores is 0.39 per word. This places it very high relative to other political speeches. Please note: Comparing the “per word” score across different emotions is essentially comparing apples to oranges. You can only compare “per word” scores between two or more documents in the same emotional scale. The reason is that, lexically, action words (generally verbs) evoke confidence and thus the most commonly evoked emotion is confidence. Generally, confidence scores the highest on a per word basis, followed by compassion and happiness, and then anxiety, hostility, and depression. So you may find that, say, happiness per word is lower than confidence per word, but happiness may be rated higher in terms of emotional impact.

The ratings of very low, low, typical, high, and very high designate percentiles on the per-word scores based on a large number of samples that we’ve already scored in each category. Any score that registers below the 5th percentile will appear at the very low level. Scores between the 5th and 25th percentiles display between very low and low. Scores between the 25th and 75th percentiles score between low and high, with typical being at exactly the 50th percentile. Scores between then 75th and 95th percentiles are displayed between high and very high. Any scores that exceed the 95th percentile are displayed as very high.

Using EffectCheck for Word Substitutions

EffectCheck offers an emotional thesaurus with over 50,000 words (and phrases). The thesaurus can be used to suggest alternative words to raise or lower the level of lexical effect in a given emotional scale. To utilize this function, click on a highlighted word in the body of the text. For example, when assessing compassion on the Gettysburg Address, if you click on the first instance of “dedicated” and list of words will appear as follows:

Compassion Synonyms

Each of these words may be a reasonable substitute for "dedicated" in a given context. Recall that EffectCheck does not “know” the context of your document. In the context of Lincoln’s address, it might be that an editor would want to raise compassion further, and choose to substitute “devoted” for “dedicated.” To do so directly, you click on “devoted” in the list and it will replace “dedicated” automatically. This function can be useful not only for suggesting word replacements, but for prompting creative thinking about how to recraft language for a more desired overall effect.

First Impression™ Word Clouds

EffectCheck also offers the ability for you to assess the so-called “priming effects” of words on the recipient of your message. To use the First Impression™ word cloud feature, click the box next to “Word Cloud” before running EffectCheck. The default word cloud that will appear is for anxiety. For example, for the Gettysburg Address, the First Impression™ set appears for anxiety as:

First Impression Word Cloud

This reflects the frequency of word usage on that emotion scale. (In the future, we will have the ability to examine word clouds based on the weighted valence of the words used.) You can click on another underlined emotional scale next to the Word Cloud check box to see the word cloud for a different scale. For example, clicking on compassion shows:

First Impression Word Cloud Compassion

EffectCheck Score-Over-Time Graph

EffectCheck also allows you to analyze how the emotional effects for anxiety, hostility, depression, confidence, compassion, and happiness change over time in a document. To use this function, click on the box next to "Score Over Time." A graph will be produced that shows the lexical effect in a 30-word moving window, incremented one word at a time. You'll see a graph similiar to the one for the Gettysburg Address as displayed here:

EffectCheck Score Over Time

Lines representing emotional scores can be turned on and off by clicking on the emotion label located at the bottom of the graph, as indicated below. Future features will allow you to choose your own moving-window size.

EffectCheck Score Over Time Compassion Removed

Future Applications and Quality Control

We are working currently on additional assessment tools to allow you to score sections of a document easily within the EffectCheck editor. We are also constructing tools to display how the evoked lexical emotion flows during the course of longer documents as a function of a moving window of given number of words. Should you have other features that you would like to see incorporated into EffectCheck, please let us know at customer.service@effectcheck.com. In addition, if you believe any word has been assessed inappropriately or find anything you think is in error, please let us know. We’ll be pleased to correct it.

The EffectCheck Team