Mining Books to Map Emotions


So what were the happiest years in the last century?  I was driving home on April Fool’s Day  listening, as always, to NPR when this fascinating segment aired on analyzing the use of emotional words in books over the last century. A bunch of researchers in England decided that it would be interesting to use a computer program to track the use of hundreds of “emotion” words  from millions of books published over the last 100 years and digitized by Google.  All kinds of books were included from novels to technical manuals.  (Who knew that technical manuals had emotional content!) The original idea was to see if certain words became more popular at certain times, but the researchers didn’t really expect much.  However, what they discovered surprised them.

Check it out for yourself!  Read (or listen to) the the rest of the article on the NPR Health Blog.

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