Collective Emotions in Cyberspace

The main aims of the project are:

  • To understand the role of collective emotions in creating, forming and breaking-up ICT mediated communities as a spontaneous emergent behaviour occurring in complex techno-social networks
  • To understand the relationship between emotions of individuals as revealed by subjective experience, behaviour, physiological responses, and expressions with online emotional behaviours of ICT mediated dyads and groups in an integrative multi-level approach
  • To create decentralized adaptive tools which allow the amplification of positive or the suppression of negative collective emotions in e-societies and will take into account the heterogeneity of interacting humans
  • To prepare the theoretical background for the development of the next generation emotionally-intelligent ICT services using models of self-organized active agents and sociophysics methods.

The project focuses on the role of collective emotions in creating, forming and breaking-up ecommunities.

Understanding these phenomena is important in view of the growing role of ICT-mediated social interactions and some specific features of e-communities. The challenge of this interdisciplinary project is to combine psychological models of emotional interactions and algorithmic methods for detection and classification of human emotions in the Internet with probabilistic models of complex systems and data driven simulations based on heterogeneous emotionally-reacting agents. The theoretical foundations will be mainly based on statistical physics applied to the study of the emergent properties of many-object systems interacting in self-organized evolving networks.

Empirically, we concentrate on the issue of how to support and maintain the emotional climates of security, trust, hope, and freedom in future techno-social communities and how to prevent or resolve conflicts within them. Data on human emotions and their influence on the structure of sustainable cooperative communities will be collected from the Blogosphere, newsgroups and Internet discussion forums and compared to computer simulations based on active agent models. Finally, we plan to develop artificial agents that can help to assess the emotional states of the members of e-communities and can act as cyberadvisers in e-communities. The results of the project will build the foundations for the next generation of socially- and emotionally-intelligent ICT services.

Research staff