Facebook study reveals choice of words used to portray emotions can hint at religiosity

The use of positive or negative words on Facebook signifying an emotion give a clue about how religious you are, a new research has revealed.

Representational Image: Reuters

Representational Image: Reuters

Researchers from the US, Britain and Australia conducted a study of nearly 13,000 Facebook users to find how the use of positive emotion and social words associated them with religion, whereas the use of negative emotion and cognitive processes hinted that the users were not religious.

The findings showed that non-religious individuals make more frequent mention of the body and of death than religious people.

It was further revealed that religious people used more religious words like "devil", "blessing" and "praying" than do non-religious people. They also showed higher use of positive words like "love" and "family" and social words such as "mothers" and "we".

On the contrary, non-religious individuals used words from the anger category like "hate" more than did religious people and also showed a higher use of words associated with negative emotions and cognitive processes such as "reasons".

"Other areas where the non-religious dominated included swear words, bodies, including 'heads' and 'neck' and words related to death including 'dead'," the paper published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science noted.

These findings bring to light the role of religion in an age when secularism is growing in the west. Despite that, over 80 per cent of the global population identifies with some type of religion.

However, the researchers are yet to reach a conclusion where they could tell how exactly the use of language associated someone with a religion.


Published Date: Aug 22, 2017 08:37 pm | Updated Date: Aug 22, 2017 08:37 pm