Researchers from the University of Leicester are launching a study to see if text messages throw up user-specific linguistic patterns.
The researchers hope that the study will aid investigations in criminal cases involving text messages.
They cite a case in which a murderer was convicted after text messages from a missing girl’s phone where shown to contain words spelled differently before and after her abductions.
Prosecution lawyers said that the messages had been sent by Stuart Campbell after he abducted Danielle Jones.
Forensic authorship analysis is often used for letters and emails in cases involving threats via written documents or in copyright cases.
However, not so much is known about people’s personal texting pattern.
Dr Tim Grant, one of the researchers, explains, “As texting is both a relatively new mode of communication and a particularly informal way of using language, there is not a strong expectation that texters will follow linguistic conventions".
“This freedom therefore allows for significant individual differences in text messaging style, and this can be used to identify the text’s authors.”
The team also hope to show that texting patterns reveal information about the texters’ ages and genders.