Yesterday I'd posted about Olivier Morin & Alberto Acerbi (2016): Birth of the cool: a two-centuriesdecline in emotional expression in Anglophone fiction, Cognition and Emotion. Alan Liu now has a series of tweets about Morin and Acerbi.
Article is impressive for sheer # of possible explanations considered, all shown to be false. Why do affectively positive words decline? https://t.co/AYVgkO3CMI— Alan Liu (@alanyliu) December 10, 2016
Odd that the study looks only at literature, though, for reasons I speculate on in my "N + 1" DH piece: https://t.co/x8FAHxiRun— Alan Liu (@alanyliu) December 10, 2016
Perfect case to be made here for additional "small corpora" of such material as newspapers, film transcripts, children's books, etc.— Alan Liu (@alanyliu) December 10, 2016
Most fundamental mystery left by the article: what model of humans/society is it proposing? Does positive affect just disappear psychically— Alan Liu (@alanyliu) December 10, 2016
or socially over time? Or does it move into a different register of expression somewhere? Is the total sum of affect fixed or dynamic?— Alan Liu (@alanyliu) December 10, 2016
For the beginnings of an answer to Liu, see my recent post, Change in national mood shows up in patterns of word usage observed in historical databases, which is links to a recent article on "linguistic positivity bias" (LPB).