Happy Tweets: Christians Are Happier, More Socially Connected, and Less Analytical Than Atheists on Twitter

Ritter, Preston, and Hernadez analyzed data from nearly 2 million text messages (tweets) across over [sic] 16,000 users on Twitter to examine differences between Christians and atheists in natural language. Analyses reveal that Christians use more positive emotion words and less negative emotion words than atheists. Moreover, two independent paths predict differences in expressions of happiness: frequency of words related to an intuitive (vs. analytic) thinking style and frequency of words related to social relationships. These findings provide the first evidence that the relationship between religion and happiness is partially mediated by thinking style. This research also provides support for previous laboratory studies and self-report data, suggesting that social connection partially mediates the relationship between religiosity and happiness. Implications for theory and the future of social science using computational methods to analyze social media are discussed.

Actually, this is not the first findings on the power of Christ-thinking. There was a study back in the 1990s that determined Evangelicals who went to church regularly (and at least once per week) were happier than those who went to church only occasionally, and much more happy than people who did not go to church at all. I do appreciate this research though because it is another proof positive that Christians have a much better outlook in general than those people who do not believe in an all powerful, divine, and supreme, holy God. Interestingly, Ritter, Preston, and Hernandez point out Karl Marx’s idea that religious benefits are illusions. We Christians know better.

First, though, I find reading 25 tweets daunting and time consuming. How did these people read more than 2 million? They categorized analytical thinking style as words such as Think and Consider, whereas social process thinking were words such as Mate and Friend. It is a quantitative content analysis and fairly effective to denote people’s inadvertent thought processes by word usage.

Thank you to George Duncan for highlighting this article for me on LinkedIN...
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