In the time of Twitter and Internet comments, it’s not hard to find language being used for evil. People take the remarkable human capacity for communication and wield it like a big dumb ax, hacking into anything and anyone they don’t like.
When you see enough of that, it’s easy to forget that people also use language as a scalpel, to dissect and understand complex things, and as a salve, to help and heal each other. They write the kind of sweet notes people love to share on social media, maybe as a deliberate antidote to all the online hate.
Thanks to a large data analysis, we now know that the latter outweighs the former. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined 100,000 words across texts in 10 different languages and found “a universal positivity bias.”