Four times more male characters in literature than female, research suggests | Books

Researchers utilizing AI applied sciences have found that male characters are 4 instances extra prevalent in literature than feminine characters.

Mayank Kejriwal on the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering was impressed by work on gender biases and his personal work on pure language processing to hold out the experiment.

Kejriwal and fellow researcher Akarsh Nagaraj used knowledge from 3,000 books which are a part of the Gutenberg Project, throughout genres together with journey, science fiction, thriller and romance.

The examine used Named Entity Recognition (NER) to establish gender-specific characters by taking a look at issues together with feminine and male pronouns. The researchers additionally examined what number of feminine characters had been foremost characters.

“Gender bias is very real, and when we see females four times less in literature, it has a subliminal impact on people consuming the culture,” mentioned Kejriwal. “We quantitatively revealed an indirect way in which bias persists in culture.”

But the researchers did face difficulties with those that didn’t match right into a gender binary. The AI was unable to determine if “they” referred to a plural or a “non-dichotomous individual”.

Kejriwal mentioned: “When we published the dataset paper, reviewers had this criticism that we were ignoring non-dichotomous genders. But we agreed with them, in a way. We think it’s completely suppressed, and we won’t be able to find many [transgender individuals or non-dichotomous individuals].”

As properly because the statistics on female and male characters, the researchers additionally seemed on the language related to gender-specific characters. Nagaraj mentioned: “Even with misattributions, the words associated with women were adjectives like ‘weak’, ‘amiable’, ‘pretty’ and sometimes ‘stupid’. For male characters, the words describing them included ‘leadership’, ‘power’, ‘strength’ and ‘politics’.”

Kejriwal added: “Our study shows us that the real world is complex but there are benefits to all different groups in our society participating in the cultural discourse. When we do that, there tends to be a more realistic view of society.”

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