This was the finding of a new study that evaluated how sound of words affect our emotions. The study team related the study to the current pandemic and found that just hearing the word “virus” may elevate one’s blood pressure.
The study titled “Affective Arousal Links Sound to Meaning” shows that sound of some words elicited more emotionally charged responses than others. In the experiment done by the researchers, they found that this emotional connection to sounds of words explains why humans match sounds to certain objects that evoke a similar emotional response.
The study team asked the participants to rate the level of intensity of emotions associated with visual or auditory stimuli and found that people tend to match objects with sounds based on similar emotional intensities. For instance, participants matched the word “kiki” to an image of a spiky object and the word “bouba” to an image of a round object.
The authors say this emotional matching may play a huge role in how children learn language and how languages evolved in the first place.