Emotional Valence Shifts and User Behavior on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube

  • Ema Kušen
  • Mark StrembeckEmail author
  • Mauro Conti
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


In this paper, we present a study on 5.6 million messages that have been sent via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The messages in our data set are related to 24 systematically chosen real-world events. For each of the 5.6 million messages, we first extracted emotion scores based on the eight basic emotions according to Plutchik’s wheel of emotions. Subsequently, we investigated the effects of shifts in the emotional valence on the messaging behavior of social media users. In particular, we found empirical evidence that prospectively negative real-world events exhibit a significant amount of shifted (i.e., positive) emotions in the corresponding messages. To explain this finding, we use the theory of social connection and emotional contagion. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that provides empirical evidence for the undoing hypothesis in online social networks (OSNs). The undoing hypothesis assumes that positive emotions serve as an antidote during negative events.



Mauro Conti is supported by a Marie Curie Fellowship funded by the European Commission (agreement PCIG11-GA-2012-321980). This work is also partially supported by the EU TagItSmart! Project (agreement H2020-ICT30-2015-688061), the EU-India REACH Project (agreement ICI+/2014/342-896), the project CNR-MOST/Taiwan 2016-17 “Verifiable Data Structure Streaming,” the grant n. 2017-166478 (3696) from Cisco University Research Program Fund and Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the grant “Scalable IoT Management and Key security aspects in 5G systems” from Intel.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vienna University of Economics and BusinessWienAustria
  2. 2.Secure Business Austria Research Center (SBA)WienAustria
  3. 3.Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH)WienAustria
  4. 4.Università di PadovaPaduaItaly

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