Presentation Title

Exposure to urban parks improves mood and reduces negativity on Twitter

Project Collaborators

Taylor Ricketts, Chris Danforth, Peter Dodds, Jarlath P.M. O'Neil-Dunne

Time

10:10 AM

Location

Williams Family Room

Abstract

Our increasingly urban, indoor, and sedentary lifestyles are correlated with rising rates of depression. Here, we analyze the words written by individuals on Twitter to investigate the effects of urban nature exposure on mental health. Using sentiment analysis, which estimates the happiness of text based on the relative frequency of happy and sad words, we construct a time series of happiness for individuals who tweeted in a San Francisco park during the summer of 2016. Tweets in parks are significantly happier than tweets before park visits, and the increase in happiness lasts for several hours following park visitation. The marginal increase in happiness is greatest for Regional Parks, followed by Neighborhood Parks, followed by Civic Plazas and Squares. Park exposure corresponds with a shift away from negative words such as ‘no’ and ‘don’t’ and decrease in first person pronoun use.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Taylor Ricketts

Secondary Mentor Name

Chris Danforth

Status

Graduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Natural Resources

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Secondary Research Category

Health Sciences

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Exposure to urban parks improves mood and reduces negativity on Twitter

Our increasingly urban, indoor, and sedentary lifestyles are correlated with rising rates of depression. Here, we analyze the words written by individuals on Twitter to investigate the effects of urban nature exposure on mental health. Using sentiment analysis, which estimates the happiness of text based on the relative frequency of happy and sad words, we construct a time series of happiness for individuals who tweeted in a San Francisco park during the summer of 2016. Tweets in parks are significantly happier than tweets before park visits, and the increase in happiness lasts for several hours following park visitation. The marginal increase in happiness is greatest for Regional Parks, followed by Neighborhood Parks, followed by Civic Plazas and Squares. Park exposure corresponds with a shift away from negative words such as ‘no’ and ‘don’t’ and decrease in first person pronoun use.