Researchers Say Words Using Letters Typed on Right Side of Keyboard Invoke More Positive Emotions

Posted on March 7, 2012

Researchers say they have found that words spelled with letters on the right of the keyboard are associated with more positive emotions than words spelled using letters on the left side. Researchers Kyle Jasmin of University College London and Daniel Casasanto of The New School for Social Research, New York are calling their finding the QWERTY effect. The research paper was published here in Springer's journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

The authors suggest that because there are more letters on the left of the keyboard than on the right, letters on the right might be easier to type, which could lead to positive feelings. They suggest that typing and texting is even helping to change the meanings of words.

In a series of three experiments, the researchers investigated whether differences in the way words are typed correspond to differences in their meanings. The researchers say that overall their studies indicate that words with more right-side letters were rated more positive in meaning than words with more left-side letters. The researchers say the effect was visible in all three languages tested - English, Dutch and Spanish - and was not affected by either word length, letter frequency or handedness.

The researchers also say the QWERTY effect remained in play even with nonsense words and abbreviations. The QWERTY effect was found when people judged the meanings of fictitious words like "pleek," and was strongest in new words and abbreviations like "greenwash" and "LOL" coined after the invention of QWERTY.

The authors of the research paper even suggest people consider using letters from the right side of the keyboard when selecting brand names and baby names. The authors say, "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."