Spanish-speakers tend to express themselves in a more positive way than do the speakers of other languages, according to a study published by the University of Vermont.
The selection of positive words was higher among people who express themselves in Spanish than among people who speak the nine other languages examined in the study: English, Portuguese, German, French, Chinese, Russian, Indonesian, Arabic and Korean.
Communication among Spanish-speakers is not only very positive but also “the emotional content of the Spanish language is the highest” among the languages studied, University of Vermont scientist Peter Sheridan Dodds, one of the leaders of the study, told Efe.
He emphasized that in all the languages analyzed, the selection of positive words was greatest among Spanish-speakers, and they are learned more easily, used more frequently and are considered more meaningful.
The research team, headed by Dodds and Christopher Danforth, found after eight years of study that “the words of natural human language possess a universal positivity bias.”
Proof of that is the “very frequent” use of positive words in university literature classics such as “Moby Dick,” “Don Quixote,” “Ulysses,” “Oliver Twist,” “Crime and Punishment” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
In this sense, the report suggests that humans tend to remember gratifying information better than disagreeable experiences and that positivism plays an important role in human psychology.
The team analyzed 100,000 words in 24 different formats or media, including Twitter posts, song lyrics, subtitles on television programs, radio broadcasts and literature classics.
The study also catalogued about 50 evaluations per word analyzed - and the 10,000 most-frequently used words were the ones examined - with the evaluations made by native speakers, who were paid to assess how positive or negative they deemed the words to be.
Using a database containing about 5 million evaluations per person, Dodds and Danforth plotted results according to the words’ favorable or unfavorable perception in each language analyzed.