Dimensions of Religiousness and Spirituality: Probabilistic Topic Modeling

Principal Investigators: Sung H. Kim, PhD
Student Investigators: Nathaniel R. Strenger & Narae Lee

Project Description

My research team and I have collected 213 measures of religion and spirituality (R/S) that are widely used in the field of psychology of R/S to answer an important question: What are the domains of R/S? We used a probabilistic topic model called correlated topics model (Blei & Lafferty, 2007) to examine the latent dimensions of the R/S measures. Probabilistic topic models are used to discover the latent thematic structure in large archives of text documents (Blei, 2012). We used R (R Development Core Team, 2012) via the tm (Feinerer, 2012) and topicmodels (Grün & Hornik, 2012) packages.


Kim, S.-H., Lee, N., & Strenger, N. R. (2013, August). Dimension of religion and spirituality: Topic modeling. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Honolulu, HI.


The 15-topic model yielded the most meaningful and solid results. The topics in the 5-and 10-topic models were too broad to interpret; however, some of the topics in the 20-topic model were not solid enough to be coherent. Some of the salient topics in the 15-topic model are Christianity (Topic 6), Transcendence (Topic 7), Existentialism (Topic 8), and Religion (Topic 15).

Tags: Sung Kim
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