Our Language Has Gotten More Emotional. Why?

It is becoming less rational to use language. That’s the gist of new findings from researchers at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Indiana University. Their study—”The rise and fall of rationality in language,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America—found that the past 40 years have seen a shift from the language of rationality to the language of emotion.

Ingrid van de Leemput, study coauthor and researcher said that regardless of the driver, the results show that post-truth is related to an historical balance in our fundamental modes: Intuition and Reasoning.

They examined the English language in English- and Spanishlanguage books that were published from 1850 to 2019, and analysed the usage of over 5,000 commonly used words. The popularity of reasoning words like determine ConclusionThe decline in intuitive words such as Please feel BelieveThis trend was evident from 1850 to the latter part of the 20th century. This trend has been reversed over the last 40 years as words that are associated with emotion and intuition were more frequent and those associated with facts-based arguments less often.

Although it is tempting to draw general conclusions, the results could reflect changes in how language is used and authors’ arguments rather than an overhaul of our thought processes. Maybe writers are being less subjective about the nature of their interpretations. The analysis is still interesting even though it only shows shifts in communication styles.

Researchers point out that fiction and nonfiction both show the nature of such a reversal. The researchers also note that the change in sentiment to rationality ratio flag words over the past 1850 years is also evident in New York Timesarticle, suggesting that this is not an artifact in the book corpora which we analysed.”

In recent years, the phenomenon has only increased:

The use of sentiment-laden keywords in Google Books decreased systematically after 1850. However, words that are associated with facts-based argumentation increased steadily. In the 1980s this trend reversed and was accelerated by 2007 when, across all languages, fact-related words decreased while emotion-laden vocabulary increased. This is a parallel to a shift in language from individualistic to collectivistic.

As one possible explanation, the rapid shift in 2007 coincides closely with social media’s rise.

According to the study, “The trend reversal that we discover has its roots decades prior to the advent of social media suggests that although social media might have been an amplifier for the decline in rationality over the past 50 years, it was not the only factor.

Researchers warn that print culture cannot be taken to mean that culture can simply be seen in its broadest sense. “Nevertheless, large numbers of words may show patterns of change in frequency that could reflect changes in people’s perceptions and feelings.”

They add that “it is worth noting that book language has been linked to social sentiment and that we found a long-term trend up until 1980 in accordance with other studies, including other text corpora.”

Read the entire article here.


Was President Joe Biden ever arrested? He said that Yes. Based on all evidence available, Please enter no.

Biden frequently spoke out about the time he was arrested as a teenager. Biden made the comment this week while addressing voting rights and civil rights movements. He said that “it feels like yesterday when I was first arrested”. The story about Biden’s arrest is at best apocryphal. The Washington PostGlenn Kessler from the University of Michigan points it out.

Kessler notes that “it’s definitely not the first time” he has said he was arrested.

He has previously stated that he was stopped from seeing Nelson Mandela (Four Pinocchios False) and tried to access an Ohio University all-female dormitory (Partly False), among other things. While he may have suggested that he was detained for walking onto the Senate floor with a star-struck child, most of his statements indicate that he was simply given a warning.

However, there is no evidence to prove that Biden has been arrested.


Supreme Court blocks vaccine mandate. The Biden administration’s workplace mandate to use vaccines in the workplace was stopped by SCOTUS on Thursday. Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated that Congress had indisputably granted OSHA the authority to regulate occupational risks, but it did not give the agency more broad regulatory power over public health. The court’s order states that the requirement to immunize 84 million Americans who work for more than 100 employees is a fall under the second category. You can read more here about this decision.


• Eleven people have been indicted on seditious conspiracy charges related to last year’s Capitol riot.

• Absentee ballot drop boxes aren’t allowed in Wisconsin elections, per a new ruling from a state court there.

• A Texas border control crackdown has been ruled unconstitutional.

• Kentucky is moving to advance a new school choice bill.

• A Virginia lawmaker is trying to end the state’s monopoly on liquor sales.

• PayPal is being sued by users who say the company terminated their accounts without reason and held their funds.

• Tensions are high between Russia and Ukraine. CNN reports that a senior US official said Thursday that “the drumbeat of war” is ringing after a week of diplomatic activity between Russia and the West that concluded Thursday. It was not possible to reach any breakthroughs regarding the Russian troops of tens of thousand at Ukraine’s border. There are no prospects for de-escalation or future diplomacy, as Russian officials suggest they might soon consider military options. Ukraine posted this tweet in the interim: