In cold weather we bark, but in hot weather we bite: patterns in social media anger, aggressive behavior, and temperature

Heather R. Stevens*, Petra L. Graham, Paul J. Beggs, Ivan C. Hanigan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Hotter weather is associated with aggressive crime. However, it is not well known if similar relationships apply to online aggression. This study uses anger counts derived from Twitter posts (tweets) and assault counts in New South Wales, Australia, to investigate if they share a similar relationship with temperature, and to determine if online anger is a predictor of assault. Results indicated that the relationships were largely inverse—assault counts were higher in summer than winter, while angry tweet counts were lower. As daily maximum temperatures rose, assault counts increased while angry tweet counts decreased. Angry tweet counts were inversely associated with assaults, with an increase in tweets signaling decreasing assaults. There are several plausible explanations for the dissimilarities including the impact of temperature on behavior, socio-demographic differences, and data collection methods. The findings of this study add to the growing literature in social media emotion and its relationship with temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-805
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Volume53
Issue number7
Early online date26 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Twitter
  • emotion
  • anger
  • assault
  • heat hypothesis

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