Friday, July 07, 2017

Geographical Psychology

A new interactive map claims to show the psychological well-being of Americans. Using the map you can explore how individual county's rank in terms of their psychological well-being and in terms of a number of different personality traits.

The Well-Being Map is based on the language analysis of geo-located Twitter messages. The University of Pennsylvania’s World Well-Being Project presumably believe that this small subset of Twitter users in each US county is reliably representative of the county population as a whole. They also believe that they have a language model which can accurately assess psychological states and traits of individuals from the words that they use in Tweets.

Obviously the Well-Being Project used some controls to validate their model. You can read more about the methodology used in the project in the paper Characterizing Geographic Variation in Well-Being Using Tweets. If you trust the methodology and the results then you might find the top ten lists interesting. For example - the most depressed Americans, according to the Well-Being Project, can be found in Jim Wells and Wilson Counties in Texas.

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