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In Information processing & management

This paper proposes a new deep learning approach to better understand how optimistic and pessimistic feelings are conveyed in Twitter conversations about COVID-19. A pre-trained transformer embedding is used to extract the semantic features and several network architectures are compared. Model performance is evaluated on two new, publicly available Twitter corpora of crisis-related posts. The best performing pessimism and optimism detection models are based on bidirectional long- and short-term memory networks. Experimental results on four periods of the COVID-19 pandemic show how the proposed approach can model optimism and pessimism in the context of a health crisis. There is a total of 150,503 tweets and 51,319 unique users. Conversations are characterised in terms of emotional signals and shifts to unravel empathy and support mechanisms. Conversations with stronger pessimistic signals denoted little emotional shift (i.e. 62.21% of these conversations experienced almost no change in emotion). In turn, only 10.42% of the conversations laying more on the optimistic side maintained the mood. User emotional volatility is further linked with social influence.

Blanco Guillermo, Lourenço AnĂ¡lia


Conversation, Covid-19 pandemic, Emotion classification, Emotion shift, Sociome