LibertyMFD: A Lexicon to Assess the Moral Foundation of Liberty

Oscar Araque, Lorenzo Gatti & Kyriaki Kalimeri (2022). LibertyMFD: A Lexicon to Assess the Moral Foundation of Liberty. In GoodIT '22: Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Conference on Information Technology for Social Good, pages 154-160. ACM.

Quantifying the moral narratives expressed in the user-generated text, news, or public discourses is fundamental for understanding individuals’ concerns and viewpoints and preventing violent protests and social polarisation. The Moral Foundation Theory (MFT) was developed to operationalise morality in a five-dimensional scale system. Recent developments of the theory urged for the introduction of a new foundation, the Liberty Foundation. Being only recently added to the theory, there are no available linguistic resources to assess whether liberty is present in text corpora. Given its importance to current social issues such as the vaccination debate, we propose two data-driven approaches, deriving two candidate lexicons generated based on aligned documents from online news sources with different worldviews. After extensive experimentation, we contribute to the research community a novel lexicon that assesses the liberty moral foundation in the way individuals with contrasting viewpoints express themselves through written text. The LibertyMFD dictionary can be a valuable tool for policymakers to understand diverse viewpoints on controversial social issues such as vaccination, abortion, or even uprisings, as they happen and on a large scale.