2019-05-13 | IWM lab Social Processes publishes study on US presidential election and the influence of emotional tendencies on Twitter
Scientists at the IWM have been researching the exchange of knowledge and information on the internet and in social networks for many years. In particular, the lab Social Processes investigates how emotions affect people's attitudes about controversial issues and their processing of information. In a recently published study, the lab linked the surprising election results of the US presidential election campaign of 2016 with Twitter as a social barometer: 148 million randomly selected tweets from almost 1,350 US counties were divided into four emotion categories - anger, fear, generally negative and positive emotions - and compared with the election results of the respective counties.
The study shows: The emotions of US citizens on Twitter are connected with the outcome of the election. Candidate Donald Trump was better supported in counties where more anger and negative emotions were tweeted, regardless of social factors such as education and socio-economic status. With the study, the IWM lab provides a further indication that voters are attracted by political appeals that correspond to their emotional state, and are more likely to be guided by emotions than by rational arguments. Read more (German only)