On the Influence of Emotional Valence Shifts on the Spread of Information in Social Networks
In this paper, we present a study on 4.4 million Twitter messages related to 24 systematically chosen real-world events. For each of the 4.4 million tweets, we first extracted sentiment 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 spread of information.
We found that in general OSN users tend to conform to the emotional valence of the respective real-world event. However, we also found empirical evidence that rospectively negative real-world events exhibit a significant amount of shifted emotions in the corresponding tweets (i.e. positive 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 postulates that positive emotions serve as an antidote during negative events.
E. Kušen, M. Strembeck, G. Cascavilla, M. Conti, On the Influence of Emotional Valence Shifts on the Spread of Information in Social Networks, in: Proc. of the 9th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), Sydney (Jul/Aug 2017)