Does your iPhone make you happy? Text analysis says no

Relationships, not gadgets or money, make people happy. This is the conclusion of a study by text analysis firm Saplo.

The company looked at which words appeared most often together with the word “happiness” in articles in the Swedish press in 2010. Saplo’s technology can read and understand any block of text. It’s a sort of “Pandora for text” whose ultimate aim is to filter articles, tweets, ads or any other types of text based on your preferences.

The study is based on 1.5 million words from articles published in the Swedish daily newspapers in 2010. Saplo’s technology examined which words were most common in articles containing the word happiness, compared with articles that did not contain this word.

Technology company names like Google and Windows and the names of bestselling gadgets such as iPad and iPhone were not linked to the word happiness. Words related to money such as millions, billions and percent were are also not associated with happiness.

What does make Swedes happy, according to the study, is soccer (FIFA World Cup was high in the happiness rankings) and other people. Almost all personal pronouns were linked to happiness. “You” and “me” were the top words associated with happiness. The rather more possessive “my” and “your” were also high in the list. After that, pronouns referring to other people, such as “she,” “he,” “us” and “them” were popular.

Saplo is based in Sweden, has 10 employees and has received $500,000 in funding from private and angel investors.



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  2. [...] audience wider than the potential customers of, or investors in, your company. Good examples are Saplo’s text analysis of happiness or AVG’s study on kids and technology. A pitch which is playful and piquant will always [...]