The Interconnectivity of Word Interpretation and Emotional State [The University of North Carolina at Charlotte]

Authors

  • Melissa Jean Martin The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Linda Shanock The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Keywords:

Psycholinguistics, emotional state, word processing, ambiguous words, neutral words

Abstract

The power of words to persuade, degrade, and implicate others is undeniable. Previous research (e.g. Lindquist, Satpute, & Gendron, 2015; Schnuerch et. al., 2016)support the hypothesis that emotions impact situational interpretation through studies of factors including perception of facial expression and tone of voice. The current study focused on the role of emotion in influencing word perception, specifically the perception of neutral words apparently void of positive or negative connotation. The research was governed by the hypothesis that when asked to rate the positivity of neutral words, participants’ ratings would mirror their levels of happiness. In other words, it was expected that a participant who was in a good mood during this study would rate neutral words more positively than a participant who was in a bad mood during this study. Sixty-two undergraduate students from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, aged 18-53, took part in this study. In an online survey, participants completed the Oxford Happiness Inventory quantifying their emotional state. They then rated the positivity of 25 neutral words on a scale where 1= extremely negative and 6 = extremely positive. This study found a significant, moderate positive correlation in the expected direction, supporting the hypothesis.

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Author Biographies

Melissa Jean Martin, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Melissa Martin is a junior at UNC Charlotte pursuing dual degrees in psychology and English and dual minors in linguistics and cognitive science. She completed this project under the direction of Dr. Linda Shanock from UNCC's department of psychological sciences. Melissa Martin is funded through the Levine Scholars Program and the Honors College at UNCC.

Linda Shanock, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Faculty

Published

2019-04-27

How to Cite

Martin, M. J., & Shanock, L. (2019). The Interconnectivity of Word Interpretation and Emotional State [The University of North Carolina at Charlotte]. Journal of Student Research. Retrieved from https://jofsr.org/index.php/path/article/view/640