Human Language Has a Positivity Bias, Says Study Analyzing 24 Languages
In a study that analyzed how different cultures perceive many of the words they use on a daily basis, researchers have found that humans tend to speak positively about each other and the world.
What's the Latest?
In a study that analyzed how different cultures perceive many of the words they use on a daily basis, researchers have found that humans tend to speak positively about each other and the world. Conducted at the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont in Burlington, researchers first drafted a list of the 10,000 most used words across 24 different languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Indonesian and Arabic. Then they paid native speakers to rate each word on a positive-negative scale--the word "sun", for example, was generally considered positive while "lonely" was generally considered negative.
What's the Big Idea?
When researchers plotted the perceived word happiness for each language, all languages showed a clear bias toward positive words. Spanish topped the list, followed by Portuguese, and then English; the Chinese language appeared as the least happy. The study "fits nicely into a broader body of research in psychology suggesting that positivity plays a more important role in most people's existence than negativity. For example, we tend to remember pleasing information more accurately than unpleasant information." The curious question of why some languages appear happier than others remains unanswered.
Read more at Physics arXiv
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.
- Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.