CSH researcher Hannah Metzler will present an online talk within the seminar “Analysis of Complex Systems” on Friday, December 4, 2020 via Zoom. If you would like to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Title: Collective Emotions during the COVID-19 Outbreak
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the world’s population to sudden challenges that elicited strong emotional reactions. While investigations of responses to tragic one-off events exist, studies on the evolution of collective emotions during a pandemic are missing. We analysed the digital traces of emotional expressions in tweets during the five weeks after the start of outbreaks in 18 countries and six different languages. We observed an early strong upsurge of anxiety-related terms in all countries, while sadness terms rose and anger terms decreased when casualties increased and social distancing measures were implemented in the following weeks. Positive emotions remained relatively stable. Our results show some of the most enduring changes in emotional expression observed in long periods of social media data, displaying a memory pattern supported by social interaction. This kind of time-sensitive analyses of large-scale samples of emotional expression have the potential to inform mental health support and risk communication.