The language-dependent relationship between word happiness and frequency

Authors: David Garcia, Antonios Garas and Frank Schweitzer

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015)

Abstract

Dodds et al. (1) present a universal positivity bias—in 10 human languages—that they claim is independent of word frequency. This result contradicts previous findings (2, 3) in which a relationship between word happiness and frequency is reported for a variety of languages and large - scale datasets. To better understand this contradiction, we reanalyze the labMT (language assessment by Mechanical Turk) data produced in Dodds et al. (1) against a larger reference lexicon (3). Our reanalysis shows that the data used in Dodds et al. (1) does not support their claims.