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Back to 2014_03_06_ICS_El estudio de grandes conjuntos de datos como Facebook y Twitter para analizar el comportamiento colectivo debe tener en cuenta las emociones

The study of collective behavior in social networks must take emotions into account.

This is stated by experts from the ICS of the University of Navarra in a article published in one of the most important neuroscience journals in the world.

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From left to right, José María Torralba, Ana Marta González and Alejandro N. García. PHOTO: Carlota Cortés
06/03/14 19:22 Isabel Solana

Three researchers from project 'Emotional culture and identity' of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra affirm that the study of collective human behavior through large sets of data (big-data) -such as Facebook and Twitter- must take emotions into account. This is what Ana Marta González, Alejandro N. García and José María Torralba indicate in a article recently published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Cambridge University Press), one of the most influential neuroscience journals in the world.

This is a commentary to a work in which three experts from the universities of Bristol y Columbia propose a outline to represent the essence of decision making through two variables: on the one hand, the Degree in which someone decides without or with influences (independent-social); and on the other hand, the Degree in which there is transparency in the risks and trade-offs involved in a decision (opaque-transparent).

Enrich the study methodology

The specialists of the University of Navarra propose enriching this methodology by introducing emotions as a third variable, due to their great weight both in cognition and in individual and collective behavior.

"The way in which emotions influence cognition cannot be represented in terms of transparency versus opacity of risks," they stress. Thus, they emphasize that sometimes people decide to act independently of the consequences: "This is the case, for example, of someone who makes a sacrifice for a friend. Emotions do not respond to a cost-benefit analysis".

Finally, they point out that taking emotional involvement into account allows "a more plausible explanation of human behavior", which contributes positively to the specific purposes that may be served by programs of study of big-data, for example, related to marketing. "As we know - they point out - when decisions are mainly based on emotions, giving too much information can be counterproductive; the important thing is to provide the relevant one".

The project of research 'Emotional culture and identity' has the sponsorship of Zurich Insurance.

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