The English language is strongly biased towards positivity, according to researchers.

Researchers say the finding in a study released Thursday was meant to complement a previous study published in December 2011 that measured people’s happiness based on the words they used on social media site Twitter.

Researchers said that although Twitter showed that the average global happiness has dropped in the past two years, most of the words used in tweets were actually positive.

Popular belief has it that most news is bad news, and the worst news always gets the most attention, researchers said.

Another general belief is that Twitter feeds are usually complaints about individual grievances, like a bad day, lousy sitcom or busted relationships, so it would be reasonable to suggest that collection of all the words from the world’s tweets would be on average more negative and unhappy than positive, according to researchers.

Researchers were surprised that the new study showed just the opposite.

After gathering billions of words from twenty years of The New York Times, the Google Books Project with titles going back to 1520, Twitter and 50 years of music lyrics, scientists found that the majority of the top 5,000 words most often used were happier and positive.

Researchers wrote that “a positivity bias is universal” across all four sources.

"It's not to say that everything is fine and happy," study author Peter Dodds, an applied mathematician at the University of Vermont explained. "It's just that language is social."

Researchers said opposite to traditional economic theory which suggests that people are inherently and rationally selfish, modern research shows that humans are “pro-social storytelling species” and in the last million years have evolved to connect with more positive words, a language feature “deeply engrained” into communication among people.

Researchers relied on data from participants were who asked to rate from one to nine their sense of “happiness” of the 10,222 most commonly used words gathered from the four study sources, and applied them to the huge pools of words collected and found that “positive words strongly outnumber negative words overall.”

For example “laughter” was rated at 8.50, “food” at 7.44, “truck” at 5.48, greed at 3.06 and “terrorist” at 1.30.

Many words were also assigned a neutral 5 because of some people ranking it high and other low like “pregnancy”, “profanities, alcohol and tobacco, religion, both capitalism and socialism, sex, marriage, fast foods, climate, and cultural phenomena such as the Beatles, the iPhone, and zombies," the researchers wrote.

The research seems to support the Pollyanna Principle introduced in 1969 that argued that people universally use positive words more often and with greater ease than negative words, experts said.

“If we think of words as atoms and sentences as molecules that combine to form a whole text, "we're looking at atoms," Dodds said."A lot of news is bad," he says, and short-term happiness may rise and fall like the cycles of the economy, "but the atoms of the story — of language — are, overall, on the positive side."

The study is published in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.