New York Magazine:
Never before in human history have so many people expressed their emotions so publicly. Every day, countless gigabytes of happiness and sadness and frustration and every other conceivable feeling are dumped onto the web, whether in the form of ecstatic Facebook statuses or paranoid blog posts. Gifted with a mother lode of new psychological data, researchers are eagerly lapping up as much of it as possible in an attempt to better understand homo sapiens.
Naturally, Twitter is a major nexus for this sort of research. And for a new study in Psychological Science, a large team of researchers led by Johannes Eichstaedt, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, found that the sentiments expressed on Twitter were surprisingly effective as a public-health diagnostic device: They could predict, more accurately than a slew of “traditional” health and demographic variables, how frequently people died from atherosclerotic heart disease (AHD) in a given county.
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