Why Typing Words On the Right Side Of Your Keyboard Makes You Happy
Typing the word 'jolly' makes us feel happier than typing the word 'sad', a new study suggests.
But it's not the meaning of the words that provoke the response, rather their position on the keyboard, the researchers found.
They believe the effect could be because the layout on a 'Qwerty' keyboard means the left hand is worked harder than the right as it covers 15 letters compared to 11.
The study suggested the increased difficulty of typing with the left hand has gradually made us feel more negative about typing with that hand and more positive about using letters on the right hand side.
Although it is not surprising that typing the word 'money' provokes a more positive response than typing the word 'tax' it was also found that the results applied to made-up words.
The researchers analysed more than 1,000 words from English, Dutch and Spanish and found that the more right-side letters a word had the more positive the participant felt when typing it.
However, a second test, using only modern words, revealed the results were most pronounced in words coined after the invention of the 'Qwerty' keyboard, suggesting the layout of the keyboard could be influencing the evolution, according to the researchers.
Writing in the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, they said the study "suggests that the Qwerty keyboard is shaping the meanings of words as people filter language through their fingers.
"It appears that using Qwerty shapes the meanings of existing words and abbreviations get adopted into the lexicon and "texticon" by encouraging the use of words and abbreviations whose emotional valences are congruent with their letters' location on the keyboard."
Kyle Jasmin of University College London and Daniel Casasanto of The New School for Social Research, New York, who led the study, said: "Widespread typing introduces a new mechanism by which changes in the meaning of words can arise.
"People responsible for naming new products, brands, and companies might do well to consider the potential advantages of consulting their keyboards and choosing the 'right' name."