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Collective Emotions in Cyberspace
Keywords emotion, internet, data set, software, physics, social networks, sentiment analysis
Funding Agency European Union
Project Type Collaborative Project (Large-Scale Integrating Project)
Reference 231323
Objective Understanding the role of collective emotions in creating, forming and breaking-up eCommunities
Participants Janusz Holyst (coordinator),

Warsaw University of Technology (Poland), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), University of Wolverhampton (United Kingdom), Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Austria), ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Jožef Stefan Institute (Slovenia), Jacobs University Bremen (Germany), Berlin Institute of Technology (Germany), Gemius SA (Poland)

Budget Total: 4,640,000

Funding: 3,600,000

Duration 1 February 2009 - 31 January 2013
Web Site

CyberEmotions (Collective Emotions in Cyberspace) is a large-scale integration project funded by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) in FET ICT domain theme 3: "Science of complex systems for socially intelligent ICT".[1] It started in February 2009 for a period of four years, and gathers approximately 40 scientists from Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Its main objective concerns understanding the role of collective emotions in creating, forming and breaking-up eCommunities.[2][3][4]

So far, research performed within the project has helped uncover some of the mechanisms driving eCommunities, such as negative emotions.[5][6] It has led to the creation of several sentiment analysis computer programs, such as SentiStrength.[7] Additionally, data gathered from online communities–such as BBC message boards–have been made available to any interested researcher.[8]


  • To understand the role of collective emotions in creating, forming and breaking-up ICT mediated communities as a spontaneous emergent behaviour occurring in complex techno-social networks.
  • To understand the relationship between emotions as revealed by subjective experience, behaviour, physiological responses and expressions with online behaviours of ICT mediated dyads and groups in an integrative multi-level approach.
  • To create decentralized adaptive tools which allow the amplification of positive or the suppression of negative collective emotions in e-societies and account for the heterogeneity of interacting humans.
  • To prepare the theoretical background for the development of the next of generation emotionally-intelligent ICT services using models of self-organized active agents and sociophysics methods.


The CyberEmotions consortium is composed of approximately 40 scientists in the area of physics, engineering, computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and psychology.[10] The additional business partner, Gemius SA, is an online research agency dealing with Internet market research.


The project is divided into three layers: "data collection", "theory" and "ICT output".[11]

The first layer consists of research teams collecting data. For instance, eCommunities such as MySpace are being crawled and text exchanges between members automatically analyzed for positive or negative emotion. Data is gathered on human psychophysiological responses to computer-mediated communication (CMC).[12]

The theory layer deals with building mathematical models of online emotional behavior, thanks to the data collected. The output layer produces computer programs which integrate the models and data. Artificial dialog systems take into account emotional responses of the user and respond accordingly (i.e., adapting their artificial affective state).[13][14]

Research Results[edit]

During the first two years CyberEmotions led to the discovery of underlying emotional processes in eCommunities.[15] For instance, it was shown that popular events (such as the Oscars) typically generate a majority of negatively valenced tweets,[16] or that female users of MySpace send and receive proportionately more positive comments than males.[17] The project fostered the development of several sentiment-mining software programs capable of retrieving the emotional valence and arousal in text produced by web users.[7][18] Several physics and network models were developed that help understand the dynamic behind variations in valence and arousal of messages posted in eCommunities.[19][20][21] Finally, software was designed that is able to respond in an emotionally-consistent way to messages produced by users varying in emotional content.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CORDIS. "FP7: FET Proactive Initiative: Science of Complex Systems for Socially Intelligent ICT (COSI-ICT)", European Commission. Retrieved on 2011-06-01.
  2. ^ KOL. "Prof. Hołyst - coordinator of European research into emotions in cyberspace", Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, 2010-06-08. Retrieved on 2011-07-15.
  3. ^ Petautschnig, F. "Emotionen im Internet", Ö1, aired on 2011-04-15.
  4. ^ Cho, A. "Ourselves and Our Interactions: The Ultimate Physics Problem?", Science. 2009.
  5. ^ Condliffe, J. "Flaming drives online social networks", NewScientist, 2010-12-07. Retrieved on 2010-12-13.
  6. ^ Sosnowska, J. "Polscy naukowcy odkrywają prawdę o sieci: im dłuższa dyskusja, tym większa agresja", Gazeta Wyborcza, 2010-12-03. Retrieved on 2011-07-22.
  7. ^ a b Thelwall, M., Buckley, K., Paltoglou, G. Cai, D., & Kappas, A. "Sentiment strength detection in short informal text", Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 2010.
  8. ^ Kentucky FC. "The 70 Online Databases that Define Our Planet", The Physics arXiv Blog, 2010-12-03. Retrieved on 2011-01-20.
  9. ^ CyberEmotions. "CyberEmotions objectives", CyberEmotions consortium. Retrieved on 2011-06-01.
  10. ^ CyberEmotions. "CyberEmotions partners", CyberEmotions consortium. Retrieved on 2011-06-01.
  11. ^ Holyst, J. A. et al. "CyberEmotions: Collective Emotions in Cyber-Space", Procedia Computer Science. 2011.
  12. ^ Beck, K. "Science beyond fiction: Jacobs University participates in EU CyberEmotions project", Informationsdienst Wissenschaft. 2008.
  13. ^ Clinicum. "Gefühle im virtuellen Raum verstehen", Clinicum. 2009.
  14. ^ Skowron, M., Pirker, H., Rank, S., Paltoglou, G., Ahn, J., & Gobron, S. "No Peanuts! Affective Cues for the Virtual Bartender", Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth International FLAIRS Conference. 2011.
  15. ^ Holyst, J. A. et al. "CyberEmotions: Collective Emotions in Cyber-Space", The European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition. 2011.
  16. ^ Thelwall, M., Buckley, K., & Paltoglou, G. "Sentiment in Twitter events", Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 2010.
  17. ^ Thelwall, M., Wilkinson, D., & Uppal, S. "Data mining emotion in social network communication: Gender differences in MySpace", Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 2010.
  18. ^ Paltoglou G., & Thelwall M. "Twitter, MySpace, Digg: Unsupervised sentiment analysis in social media", ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology. 2010.
  19. ^ Chmiel, A., Sobkowicz, P., Sienkiewicz, J., Paltoglou, G., Buckley, K., Thelwall, M., & Holyst, J. A. "Negative emotions boost user activity at BBC forum", Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. 2011.
  20. ^ Mitrovic, M., & Tadic, B. "Bloggers behavior and emergent communities in Blog space", The European Physical Journal B - Condensed Matter and Complex Systems. 2010.
  21. ^ Schweitzer, F., & Garcia, D. "An agent-based model of collective emotions in online communities", The European Physical Journal B - Condensed Matter and Complex Systems. 2010.
  22. ^ Skowron, M. "Affect Listeners. Acquisition of Affective States by means of Conversational Systems", Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 2010.
  23. ^ Gobron, S., Ahn, J., Paltoglou, G., Thelwall, M., & Thalmann, D. "From sentence to emotion: a real-time three-dimensional graphics metaphor of emotions extracted from text", The Visual Computer. 2010.

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