New School News

NSSR’s Daniel Casasanto Finds the Key(board) to Positive Thinking

A new study by Daniel Casasanto, assistant professor of psychology at The New School for Social Research reveals that keyboard layout affect typists’ perceptions of the emotional quality of certain words. People tend to have more positive associations with words whose letters fall on the right side of the keyboard than those whose letters fall on the left.

Casasanto and his co-researcher, Kyle Jasmin of University College, call this the QWERTY Effect. The QWERTY Effect is another proof of Casasanto’s body-specificity theory, which suggests that people’s bodies demonstrably effect how they perceive the world, with implications all the way down to how they define certain words.

Casasanto and Jasmin write that the discovery of a similar pattern across languages, , the researchers conducted the test in English, Dutch and Spanish,
which was strongest in neologisms, suggests that the QWERTY keyboard is shaping the meanings of words as people filter language through their fingers.,

The study is posted in full at the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review’s website, and has already received coverage from Wired and MSNBC.

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