Monday, 11 August 2014

Psycho Bites: Positively Happy Word Exposure

Exposure has a powerful influence on evaluations. There’s a general exposure curve which show that the more we hear or see something, the more we like it (until we become explicitly aware of the intentions or tired of the repetition such as songs on the radio).

However, something entirely implicit is that the frequency of positive words tends to be higher than negative words, and we also tend to prefer positives over negatives.

These frequencies were calculated from a wide variety of texts and printed in 1944 by Thorndike-Lorge. They may have a bit of age to them although the point is still the same.

The words ‘happiness’ occurs 15 times more than ‘unhappiness’.

Beauty’ is found 41 times more often than ‘ugliness’. 

Love’ is 7 times more frequent than ‘hate’. 

We ‘laugh 2.4 times more often than we ‘cry’.

Food is 12 times more often ‘fresh’ than ‘stale’, and 7 times more often ‘sweet’ than ‘sour’.

Things are describe as ‘full3 times more than ‘empty’.

And things are 5 times more often ‘better’ than they are ‘worse’.

These positive words feel pleasant not only because they have a positive meaning, but because they are more familiar, easier to process, and more regular than their negative counterparts. We implicitly prefer these positives and use them more often.

There we have it, proof that the world is more often happy rather than sad!