Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Happiness Meter

PostedAugust 9, 2009

Download File (mp3)


To find out more about this story, go to wtopnews.com and type in keyword “Engineering Innovation” or go to N-A-E – dot - E-D-U – slash – RADIO.

SCRIPT

Randy Atkins: Polling people about how happy they are can be artificial.  So Chris Danforth, a University of Vermont applied mathematician, is gathering people’s feelings when they don’t even know it…from Twitter posts.

Chris Danforth: We get roughly a million a day or a thousand every minute, and then we have a program that looks for trends inside those messages.

Randy Atkins: Danforth targets words that have been ranked on a happiness scale by other research…and thinks what he finds could even help reverse-engineer public policies.

Chris Danforth: The nice thing about these Twitter messages is you have not just a message, the time stamp, sometimes where they posted from, but you have information about what messages they receive.

Randy Atkins: So the findings may show how happiness spreads.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103-point-5 F-M and WTOP-dot-com.

Resources

 

  • Danforth's research colleague Peter Dodds
  • A University of Vermont news release about their research
  • A University of Florida study ranking words for happiness