Hedonometer

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A hedonometer or hedonimeter is a device used to gauge happiness or pleasure. Conceived of at least as early as 1880,[1] 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."[2]

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.[3][4][5] It is operated out of the University of Vermont (UVM), and has been in use since 2008.[6] A version of the tool is available at hedonometer.org, which they call a sort of "Dow Jones Index of Happiness",[7] and hope will be used by government officials in conjunction with other metrics as a gauge of the population's well-being.[8]

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.[9]

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.[6]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary definition
  2. ^ Edgeworth's Hedonimeter and the Quest to Measure Utility
  3. ^ Reuters - "Jackson's death was blogosphere's saddest day: study"
  4. ^ Measuring the Happiness of Large-Scale Written Expression: Songs, Blogs, and Presidents
  5. ^ The Atlantic - "The Geography of Happiness According to 10 Million Tweets"
  6. ^ a b Mackenzie, Dana (2020-09-14). "How algorithms discern our mood from what we write online". Knowable Magazine. doi:10.1146/knowable-091120-1.
  7. ^ Computational Story Lab - "Now online: the Dow Jones Index of Happiness"
  8. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek - "Forget GDP. Data Crunchers Measure Happy Tweets for Key Economic Indicator"
  9. ^ Mackenzie, Dana; Magazine, Knowable (19 September 2020). "How Algorithms Discern Our Mood From What We Write Online". The Wire Science.