The Science of Stories: Measuring and Exploring the Ecology of Human Stories with Lexical Instruments
Dodds, Peter S.
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I will survey our efforts at the Computational Story Lab to measure and study a wide array of social and cultural phenomena using “lexical meters” — online, interactive instruments that use social media and other texts to quantify population dynamics of human behavior. These include happiness, public health, obesity rates, and depression. I will explain how lexical meters work and how we have used them to uncover natural language encodings of positivity biases across cultures, universal emotional arcs of stories, links between social media posts and health, measures of fame and ultra-fame, and time compression for news. I will offer some thoughts on how fully developing a post-disciplinary, collaborative science of human stories is vital in our efforts to understand the evolution, stability, and fracturing of social systems.
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