We may be richer, but we're more miserable, according to an
analysis of tweets over the last three years.
University of Vermont researchers say that while the US' gross domestic
product has been rising for the last two years, happiness levels have
been declining since April 2009.
"It appears that
happiness is going down," says Peter Dodds, an applied mathematician at
Dodds and his team
gathered more than 46 billion words tweeted around the globe, and ran
them by Amazon's Mechanical Turk service. They paid a group of
volunteers to rate, from one to nine, their sense of the 'happiness'
of the ten thousand most common words in English.
scores, the volunteers rated, for example, 'laughter' at 8.50, 'food' at
7.44, 'truck' at 5.48, 'greed' at 3.06 and 'terrorist' at 1.30.
The Vermont team then
applied these scores to the pool of words collected from Twitter,
linking them to date, time and location.
In this way, they say,
they can measure happiness at different times and places - more
accurately than surveys which depend on self-reported levels of
happiness and generally have small sample sizes.
The new approach
throws out several interesting insights - we're generally happiest over
the weekend, for example, with happiness levels lowest on Mondays and
Tuesdays. Over each day, happiness seems to drop from morning
to night.Read more