Twitter can Reveal Our Shared Mood

Scientists analyzed mood indicators in text from 800 million anonymous messages posted on Twitter. These tweets were found to reflect strong patterns of positive and negative moods over the 24-hour day.

Twitter can Reveal Our Shared Mood
Image: Pixabay

Circadian rhythms, widely referred to as the ‘body clock’, allow people’s bodies to predict their needs over the dark and light periods of the day. Most of this circadian activity is regulated by a small region in the hypothalamus of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is particularly sensitive to light changes at dawn and dusk and sends signals through nerves and hormones to every tissue in the body.

Researchers from the University of Bristol have analyzed mood indicators in text from 800 million anonymous messages posted on Twitter. The research team looked at the use of words relating to positive and negative emotions, sadness, anger, and fatigue in Twitter over the course of four years.

The public expressions of effect and fatigue were linked to the time they appeared on the social platform to reveal changes within the 24-hours.

Whilst previous studies have shown a circadian variation for positive and negative emotions the current study was able to differentiate specific aspects of anger, sadness, and fatigue.

Dr. Fabon Dzogang, a research associate in the Department of Computer Science, said: “Our research revealed strong circadian patterns for both positive and negative moods. The profiles of anger and fatigue were found remarkably stable across the seasons or between the weekdays/weekend.”

“The patterns that our research revealed for the positive emotions and sadness showed more variability in response to these changing conditions, and higher levels of interaction with the onset of sunlight exposure. These techniques that we demonstrated on the social media provide valuable tools for the study of our emotions, and for the understanding of their interaction within the circadian rhythm.”

Scientists have found distinct patterns of positive emotions and sadness between the weekends and the weekdays, and evidence of variation of these patterns across the seasons.

Stafford Lightman, Professor of Medicine said, “Since numerous psychological wellness issues are influenced by circadian rhythms, we trust that this investigation will urge others to utilize online networking to help in our comprehension of the cerebrum and emotional well-being scatters.”