What kind of feels do people get in an Apple store?
Your location has a huge impact on your mood – and science just explained how.
When it comes to planning trips – from everyday errands to elaborate excursions – it turns out we might be better off making decisions based not on where we want to go, but rather how we want to feel.
That's one takeaway from a groundbreaking new study from researchers at Israel's Technion Institute and AT&T Research Laboratories. The team developed an algorithm that measures people's emotions through their social media posts, check-ins and emojis at several locations around New York City, and came up with some fascinating – and in some cases, surprising – correlations.
They even gave their research a new name: Emotion mapping.
At the flagship Manhattan Apple store, for example, researchers – led by doctoral candidate Ben Galon at Technion – found that many people expressed feelings of sorrow.
Could it have been the long lines? Perhaps the Geniuses weren't at the top of their game that day? Maybe it's the grief of having to surrender your iPhone for repairs?
The scientists observed people's emotions at a wide range of locations, from high schools to public parks to Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum. So what kind of feels did visitors get when they laid eyes on wax likenesses of their favorite people? Anxiety, evidently. Relax, people! They're not the real deal.
Madame Tussauds New York reveals their first-ever Meghan Markle figure with a restyled Prince Harry figure on May 9, 2018, in New York City. (Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds)
Filed under "not at all surprising," the researchers identified high levels of anger in public transportation stations. Above ground, the picturesque Washington Square Park elicited feelings of happiness.
Fun correlations, aren't they? But there are some serious implications here. Maps like this could go a long way to help tourists choose spots that are likely to elicit happy or romantic emotions, and to avoid places that evoke anger and anxiety. They could also enable urban planners to identify areas that elicit negative emotions and improve them.
“Further research will focus on in-depth analysis of the results, in efforts to understand the roots of these emotion-location interrelationships, and on integrating a time parameter to the new emotion maps," Galon said.
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