If You're Happy, Then We Know It: New Research Measures Mood:
". . . what if you had a remote-sensing mechanism that could record how millions of people around the world were feeling on any particular day — without their knowing?
That's exactly what Peter Dodds and Chris Danforth, a mathematician and computer scientist working in the Advanced Computing Center at the University of Vermont, have created.
Their methods show that Election Day, November 4, 2008, was the happiest day in four years. The day of Michael Jackson's death, one of the unhappiest.
'The proliferation of personal online writing such as blogs gives us the opportunity to measure emotional levels in real time,' they write in their study, 'Measuring the Happiness of Large-Scale Written Expression: Songs, Blogs, and Presidents,3' now available in an early online edition of the journal.
Their answer to Edgeworth's daydream begins with a website, http://www.wefeelfine.org4 that mines through some 2.3 million blogs, looking for sentences beginning with "I feel" or "I am feeling."
"We gathered nearly 10 million sentences from their site," Dodds says. Then, drawing on a standardized "psychological valence" of words established by the Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW) study, each sentence receives a happiness score. In the ANEW study, a large pool of participants graded their reaction to 1,034 words, forming a kind of "happy-unhappy" scale from 1 to 9. For example, "triumphant" averaged 8.87, "paradise" 8.72, "pancakes" 6.08, "vanity" 4.30, "hostage" 2.20, and "suicide" 1.25.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
If You're Happy, Then We Know It: New Research Measures Mood
The point is that analysis of words and citations can reveal the shape of knowledge creation. More at Tough Love for Xerox.