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Emotional Valence Shifts and User Behavior on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube

In this paper, we present a study on 5.6 million messages that have been sent via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The messages in our data set are related to 24 systematically chosen real-world events. For each of the 5.6 million messages, we first extracted emotion scores based on the eight basic emotions according to Plutchik’s wheel of emotions. Subsequently, we investigated the effects of shifts in the emotional valence on the messaging behavior of social media users. In particular, we found empirical evidence that prospectively negative real-world events exhibit a significant amount of shifted (i.e., positive) emotions in the corresponding messages.

To explain this finding, we use the theory of social connection and emotional contagion. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that provides empirical evidence for the undoing hypothesis in online social networks (OSNs). The undoing hypothesis assumes that positive emotions serve as an antidote during negative events.


E. Kušen, M. Strembeck, M. Conti, Emotional Valence Shifts and User Behavior on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, In: Influence and Behavior Analysis in Social Networks and Social Media, Lecture Notes in Social Networks (LNSN), Springer (2018) 63-83


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