News Stories

Who's Happy?

An easy way to tell - Social scientists have a hard time trying to measure happiness. Surveys have revealed some useful information, but these are plagued by the fact that people misreport and misremember their feelings. But 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 researchers Peter Dodds and Chris Danforth 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.Their study shows that the proliferation of personal online writing such as blogs gives researchers the opportunity to measure emotional levels in real time. They searched through 2.3 million blogs, looking for sentences beginning with "I feel" or "I am feeling."

There's magic in the language of the birds. The recent protests in Iran showed that Twitter has become an important part of politics, and now scientists are using it as a research tool for the future. Follow Whitley and Anne's twitters by clicking the twitter link on our homepage!

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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