Why just typing ‘LOL’ makes you happy: People like words made of letters from the right-hand side of the QWERTY keyboard
By ROB WAUGH
UPDATED: 09:11 EST, 8 March 2012
The QWERTY keyboard is shaping how we react to words, say scientists – the effect might be caused by the fact that it’s slightly easier to type with the right hand, as there are fewer letters for touch-typists on the right-hand side of the keyboard
Many workers spend hours a day in front of a QWERTY keyboard on a PC – now scientists have found that the keyboard itself is shaping how we react to words.
Oddly, people tend to react more positively to words filled with letters from the right-hand side of a QWERTY keyboard.
Words from the left side make people feel negative emotions.
Taking a rather unscientific sample, it does seem to make sense – ‘Pool’ is filled with right-side letters, whereas ‘tax’ is all left-side.
The effect seems to come from the keyboard itself – and is dubbed ‘the QWERTY effect’.
The cognitive scientists think that the effect might be caused by the fact that it’s slightly easier to type with the right hand, as there are fewer letters for touch-typists on the right-hand side of the keyboard.
Scientists tested how people reacted using a mix of real words, new words such as ‘LOL’ and even made-up words such as ‘Pleek’.
They found that their volunteers tended to rate ALL words more positively if they came from the right-hand side of the keyboard – but the effect was particularly pronounced with computer-era words such as ‘LOL’.
Notice anything odd? The silly signs that don’t quite get the message across
Words such as ‘LOL’, coined after language ‘shifted’ to the world of keyboards, are particularly vulnerable to the keyboard effect.
LOL is rarely spoken, and mostly typed.
Words with many ‘left side’ letters evoke negative emotions – and words with right side evoke positive feelings, in this slightly unscientific sample
‘When people type words composed of more right-side letters, they have more positive feelings, and when they type words composed of more left-side letters, they have more negative feelings,’ say cognitive scientists Kyle Jasmin of University College London and Daniel Casasanto of The New School for Social Research, New York.
‘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,’ say the researchers.