The findings of a recent study claim that human languages are biased towards positive words. The study involved the investigation in ten different languages, and results showed that all these languages are more inclined towards being happy. In other words, researchers have found that humans tend to use positive words more than negative words. The findings have been published in a recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study involving the study of human preferences in the aspect of the languages they use to communicate is based on the Pollyanna Hypothesis. According to the theory, humans use positive words more frequently than negative words. The hypothesis establishes this theory as a universal human tendency. The recent study was led by Peter Sheridan Dodds and his team from the Computational Story Lab of the University of Vermont.
The researchers exploited 24 sources to obtain billions of words from 10 different languages to aid the study. The sources were diversified and included lyrics of songs, movie subtitles, news outlets, books, websites, social media and television. They then identified the 100,000 most frequently used words from these sources. The languages that formed a part of the research include English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Indonesian, and Arabic. Results showed that Chinese was the least biased towards happy words while Spanish is the language that is most inclined towards the usage of positive words.
As claimed by the researchers, the results of the study are based on a survey involving 5 million people. These people are essentially native speakers of any of these languages who were asked to rate the top 100,000 words on a scale of 1 to 9. Dodds and his team said that the results could prove a substantial tool in the development of powerful language-based mechanisms for fathoming emotion.