Effect of the lockdown on diurnal patterns of emotion expression in Twitter

Sheng Wang, Stafford Lightman, Nello Cristianini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


Diurnal variation in psychometric indicators of emotion found in Twitter content has been known for many years. The degree to which this pattern depends upon different environmental zeitgebers has been difficult to determine. The nationwide lockdown in the United Kingdom in spring 2020 provided a unique government-mandated experiment to observe the temporal variation of psychometric indicators in the absence of certain specific social rhythms related to commuting and workplace social activities as well as many normal home-based social activities. We therefore analyzed the aggregated Twitter content of 54 UK cities in the 9 weeks of complete lockdown, comparing them with the 10 weeks that preceded them (as well as with the corresponding weeks of 2019). We observed that the key indicators of emotion retained their diurnal behavior. This suggests that even during lockdown there are still sufficient zeitgebers to maintain this diurnal variation in indicators of emotion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1591-1610
Number of pages20
JournalChronobiology International - The Journal of Biological and Medical Rhythm Research
Issue number11
Early online date16 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Twitter
  • emotion
  • lockdown
  • circadian
  • LIWC
  • psychometrics


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