PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study finds that religion plays a significant role in the language and moods expressed on social media.
After studying 12,815 people from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, researchers found that Facebook users who had religious affiliations were more positive and less vulgar in language than users who were not religious.
Religious people are more inclined to use words connected with positive emotions such as “love” and “family,” as well as more inclusive words such as “mother” and “we,” according to the study published as “The Language of Religious Affiliation: Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Differences” in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal.
Non-religious people used words like “hate,” which researchers pit the the anger category. They also used profanity and words related to death more (e.g. “dead).
Researchers are unsure if the different linguistic behaviors associated religious and non-religious people is a clear reflection of the psychological states of those groups, or if the language use reflects the social norms of being part of that group, or a combination.