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The emotional content of large-scale texts: Measuring the happiness of bloggers, song lyrics, and presidents.

Peter Dodds and Chris Danforth
University of Vermont

Thursday, February 5, 2009
007 Kemeny Hall, 4 pm
Tea 3:30 pm, 300 Kemeny Hall

Abstract: The importance of quantifying the nature and intensity of emotional states at the level of populations is evident: we would like to know how, when, and why individuals feel as they do if we wish, for example, to better construct public policy, build more successful organizations, and, from a scientific perspective, more fully understand economic and social phenomena. By incorporating direct human assessment of words, we quantify the psychological valence (or pleasantness) of a diverse set of large-scale texts which reflect human experience: song titles and lyrics, weblogs, and State of the Union addresses. Our method is transparent, fast, and improvable, and moves beyond approaches based on coarse categorization.

This talk will be accessible to undergraduates.