A study conducted by researchers from the University of Vermont has indicated that “We use more happy words than sad words.” Titled “Human Language Reveals a Universal Positivity Bias”, the study mined over 10,000 most frequently used words in 10 world languages such as English, Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Chinese (simplified), Russian, Indonesian and Arabic.
Native speakers were recruited by the researchers to rate these commonly used words on a nine-point scale from a deeply frowning face to a broadly smiling one.
The objective of the scientists was to find the effect of positive and negative words on users. The researchers eventually found that people tend more to using happy words than they do with negative words, probably because happy words confer some kind of happiness on the mind of the user.
According to co-lead author, Chris Danforth, there was “a usage-invariant positivity bias” when people use commonly applied words of any language.
“In every source we looked at, people use more positive words than negative ones,” said Peter Dodds, a University of Vermont mathematician and co-lead of the study.
They sourced for billions of human words from news outlets, social media, music lyrics, books, websites, television and movie subtitles; and also accessed over 100 billion tweet words. And they were able to conclude that “probably all human language skews toward the use of happy words,” and the reason for this is largely because people linguistically “always look on the bright side of life.”