Negativity Spreads More than Positivity on Twitter after both Positive and Negative Political Situations
Schöne J., Parkinson B., Goldenberg A.
<p>What type of emotional language spreads further in political discourses on social media? Previous research has focused on situations that primarily elicited negative emotions, showing that negative language tended to spread further. The current project addressed the gap introduced when looking only at negative situations by comparing the spread of emotional language in response to both predominantly positive and negative political situations. In Study 1, we examined the spread of emotional language among tweets related to the winning and losing parties in the 2016 US elections, finding that increased negativity (but not positivity) predicted content sharing in both situations. In Study 2, we compared the spread of emotional language in two separate situations: the celebration of the US Supreme Court approval of same-sex marriage (positive), and the Ferguson Unrest (negative), finding again that negativity spread further. These results shed light on the nature of political discourse and engagement.</p>