Positive words carry less information than negative words

David Garcia, Antonios Garas, Frank Schweitzer
2012 EPJ Data Science  
We show that the frequency of word use is not only determined by the word length Zipf1935 and the average information content Piantadosi2011, but also by its emotional content. We have analyzed three established lexica of affective word usage in English, German, and Spanish, to verify that these lexica have a neutral, unbiased, emotional content. Taking into account the frequency of word usage, we find that words with a positive emotional content are more frequently used. This lends support to
more » ... ollyanna hypothesis Boucher1969 that there should be a positive bias in human expression. We also find that negative words contain more information than positive words, as the informativeness of a word increases uniformly with its valence decrease. Our findings support earlier conjectures about (i) the relation between word frequency and information content, and (ii) the impact of positive emotions on communication and social links.
doi:10.1140/epjds3 fatcat:w5sovnwi7vfvrjte6jlpmmbfce