Anthropologists find that the use of "emotional" words in all sorts of books has soared and dipped across the past century, roughly mirroring each era's social and economic upheavals.
"Which brings us to the most surprising finding of the study: We think of modern culture — and often ourselves — as more emotionally open than people in the past. We live in a world of reality television and blogs and Facebook — it feels like feelings are everywhere, displayed to a degree that they never were before. But according to this research, that's not so.
"Generally speaking, the usage of these commonly known emotion words has been in decline over the 20th century," Bentley says. We used words that expressed our emotions less in the year 2000 than we did 100 years earlier — words about sadness and joy and anger and disgust and surprise.
In fact, there is only one exception that Bentley and his colleagues found: fear. "The fear-related words start to increase just before the 1980s," he says."