Studies of affect labeling, i.e. putting your feelings into words, indicate that it can attenuate positive and negative emotions. Here we track the evolution of individual emotions for tens of thousands of Twitter users by analyzing the emotional content of their tweets before and after they explicitly report having a strong emotion. Our results reveal how emotions and their expression evolve at the temporal resolution of one minute. While the expression of positive emotions is preceded by a short but steep increase in positive valence and followed by short decay to normal levels, negative emotions build up more slowly, followed by a sharp reversal to previous levels, matching earlier findings of the attenuating effects of affect labeling. We estimate that positive and negative emotions last approximately 1.25 and 1.5 hours from onset to evanescence. A separate analysis for male and female subjects is suggestive of possible gender-specific differences in emotional dynamics.
Does putting your emotions into words make you feel better? Measuring the minute-scale dynamics of emotions from online data
Rui Fan, Ali Varamesh, Onur Varol, Alexander Barron, Ingrid van de Leemput, Marten Scheffer, Johan Bollen