KYOTO, Japan — Want to feel happier? A new study of millions of tweets finds it all comes down to that age-old real estate saying — location, location, location. Researchers say our physical location affects our emotions. A team in Japan analyzed nearly two million Twitter posts by people in the cities of London and San Francisco, looking at what events and locations connect to different emotional states.
In both cities, tweets from inside train stations, on bridges, and around other transportation sites tend to display less joy and more disgust. Meanwhile, tweets from hotels and restaurants show higher levels of joy.
Specific events also lead to certain emotions. In San Francisco, users displayed the highest levels of anger, disgust, and sadness on the day of the 2017 Women’s March. In London, users showed higher levels of fear and sadness during two local terrorist attacks.
On New Year’s Eve in both cities, researchers saw higher levels of joy on Twitter. The team used computational tools called neural networks to study the tweets made by more than 200,000 people in the two cities. A neural network is a method in artificial intelligence that teaches computers how to process data in a way that resembles the human brain.
They analyzed when people expressed anger, anticipation, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise, or trust. However, the researchers are urging caution in regard to overgeneralizing their results. One reason for this is that the study only included tweets written in English.
The team hopes that these results could help pave the way to additional fine-grained research to inform urban planning and tourism.
“Our study highlights how it is possible to portray the characteristics of fine-grained emotions at a detailed spatial and temporal level throughout the whole city, using publicly available data sources,” says study author Panote Siriaraya from the Kyoto Institute of Technology, according to a statement from SWNS.
The data is published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Commuting is the worst no matter where you live
It’s no surprise that emotions are at their lowest when people are near major commuter hubs. A 2020 survey of 2,000 Americans who regularly commute to work by car finds that a third of respondents usually feel agitated or stressed before even arriving at the office. In fact, 27 percent of Americans make a habit of complaining about their daily commute.
If you’re looking for a city to live in that’ll keep you happy more often than not, StudyFinds has you covered. Honolulu, Hawaii ranks as the friendliest city in the United States, according to experts. You can see the rest of the list here.
South West News Service writer Alice Clifford contributed to this report.