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Anger Most Influential Emotion In Digital World

Update Date: Sep 19, 2013 09:13 AM EDT

Anger is the most influential emotion online and it incites more responses than any other sentiments, a new study finds.

Scientists in China analysed emotions on Chinese Twitter-like service Weibo and came to conclusion that anger spread faster and more broadly than joy or sadness.

The research by Rui Fan and colleagues at Beihang University in China compared the way that tweets labelled with specific emotions influence other people on the network.

The findings in the research could have significant implications for our understanding of the way information spreads through social networks.

Weibo has attracted more than 500 million users who post around 100 million messages a day, in just four years.

During the six months in 2010, Rui and colleagues collected some 70 million tweets from 200,000 users. They then constructed a social network in which users were linked if they mutually interact by send messages to each other or re-tweeting each other’s tweet.

To ensure that they only stuudied people who were strongly connected, Rui ignored people who had more than 30 interactions during the test period.

They determined the sentiments of each tweet in their database by analysing the emoticons they contained. Then they divided these into four categories namely joy, sadness, anger and disgust.

Finally they studied the way sentiments spread through the network. It involved the study of the frequency at which the messages with different emotions got responses.

They came up with surprising results. When it came sadness and disgust, very little correlations between the users existed. Though they found a higher correlation among the users who tweeted joyful messages.

But the highest correlation that the researchers found was among angry users. Anger strongly influences the neighbourhood in which it appears, spreading on average by about three degrees.

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