Mar 26, 2013
By Michael Kramer
A new study suggests there has been a draining of feeling from books through the 20th century.
The google “ngram” database tracked billions of words and analysed broad emotional shifts across decades.
It found that English-language fiction books became steadily less emotional through the past century.
Researchers at three British universities tracked the use of “mood words” – or words carrying emotional content and sorted them into six main categories including anger, joy and sadness.
They identified a decrease in overall use of “mood words” with only words relating to fear increasing in the past several decades.
The study is published online at plos one dot org.