QWERTY Keyboard May Influence Products We Like

Product names featuring more letters from the right-hand side of a typical QWERTY keyboard are viewed more positively by humans, a study has found.

A phenomenon known as the QWERTY effect was already known to cause humans to prefer names with a higher proportion of letters from that side of the keyboard.

Now new research has revealed that the phenomenon is much more widespread than first thought.

Two scientists looked at millions of English-language product names, books and movies on sites such as Amazon, YouTube and Rotten Tomatoes.

On nine of the sites, items with names featuring a higher ratio of right-hand letters tended to be rated more highly by reviewers.

The study's co-author David Garcia, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, said that beforehand he did not believe in a QWERTY affect.

But then, he said, "it started appearing in one data set after another."

Naomi Baron, from the American University in Washington DC, said the findings were fascinating because "if you look at the origin of the QWERTY keyboard, it had nothing to do with emotions.

"It had to do with not getting the keys entangled with one another."

She offered up one possible explanation: some letters which appear on the right-hand side of the keyboard such as y, u, i and o are known to be linked with positive words.

Researchers have previously asked English, Dutch and Spanish speakers to rate how they felt about different words, including made-up ones like 'pleek' and 'ploke'.

Those that used right-hand letters were viewed more positively.

Studies have also found that baby names with a higher proportion of letters from the right-hand side of the keyboard have grown in popularity along with the widespread use of QWERTY keyboards from the 1960s.

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