Measuring emotions in the COVID-19 real world worry dataset

Bennett Kleinberg, Isabelle van der Vegt, Maximilian Mozes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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The COVID-19 pandemic is having a dramatic impact on societies and economies around the world. With various measures of lockdowns and social distancing in place, it becomes important to understand emotional responses on a large scale. In this paper, we present the first ground truth dataset of emotional responses to COVID-19. We asked participants to indicate their emotions and express these in text. This resulted in the Real World Worry Dataset of 5,000 texts (2,500 short + 2,500 long texts). Our analyses suggest that emotional responses correlated with linguistic measures. Topic modeling further revealed that people in the UK worry about their family and the economic situation. Tweet-sized texts functioned as a call for solidarity, while longer texts shed light on worries and concerns. Using predictive modeling approaches, we were able to approximate the emotional responses of participants from text within 14% of their actual value. We encourage others to use the dataset and improve how we can use automated methods to learn about emotional responses and worries about an urgent problem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st workshop on NLP for COVID-19 at ACL 2020
EditorsK. Verspoor, K. Bretonnel Cohen, M. Dredze, E. Ferrara, J. May, R. Munro, C. Paris, B. Wallace
Place of PublicationOnline
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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