A hedonometer or hedonimeter is a device used to gauge happiness or pleasure. Conceived of at least as early as 1880, the term was used in 1881 by the economist Francis Ysidro Edgeworth to describe "an ideally perfect instrument, a psychophysical machine, continually registering the height of pleasure experienced by an individual."
More recently, it has been used to refer to a tool developed by Peter Dodds and Chris Danforth to gauge the valence of various corpora, including historical State of the Union addresses, song lyrics, and online tweets and blogs. It is operated out of the University of Vermont (UVM), and has been in use since 2008. A version of the tool is available at hedonometer.org, which they call a sort of "Dow Jones Index of Happiness", and hope will be used by government officials in conjunction with other metrics as a gauge of the population's well-being.
Computer Scientists trained the hedonometer to recognizes the emotion behind data as tweets with sentiment analysis techniques. Danforth preferred a lexicon approach, that measures the weight of a word, due to the energy required for neural nets.
As of 2020, the hedonometer at UVM scrapes about 50 million tweets each day. Using sentiment analysis, the hedonometer takes the emotional temperature of the words published by users of various platforms.
- If you're happy, then we know it: Scientists build 'hedonometer' (July 24, 2009)
- Temporal Patterns of Happiness and Information in a Global Social Network: Hedonometrics and Twitter
- Great Hedonometer, Story Grid Podcast, airing August 25, 2016
- Oxford English Dictionary definition
- Edgeworth's Hedonimeter and the Quest to Measure Utility
- Reuters - "Jackson's death was blogosphere's saddest day: study"
- Measuring the Happiness of Large-Scale Written Expression: Songs, Blogs, and Presidents
- The Atlantic - "The Geography of Happiness According to 10 Million Tweets"
- Mackenzie, Dana (2020-09-14). "How algorithms discern our mood from what we write online". Knowable Magazine. doi:10.1146/knowable-091120-1.
- Computational Story Lab - "Now online: the Dow Jones Index of Happiness"
- Bloomberg Businessweek - "Forget GDP. Data Crunchers Measure Happy Tweets for Key Economic Indicator"
- Mackenzie, Dana; Magazine, Knowable (19 September 2020). "How Algorithms Discern Our Mood From What We Write Online". The Wire Science.