Sign Out
Logged In:
 
 
 
 
 
Tab Image

Latest News

Research Excellence Framework 2021
Research Excellence Framework 2021 Panel Membership Announced

Impartiality in AI and Machine Learning
The Global Future Councils held in Dubai in 2017 discussed the effect of large-scale adoption o...

Women in Mathematics
Only 4% of mathematics professors in the UK are female

Humans are not fooled
Humans are not fooled when they get called by software bots that can convincingly mimic the hum...

The musical mood of the nation
Examine the musical mood of the nation when contemplating changes to the Bank’s interest rate

More

Tab Image

Features

A window on the world of O.R.?
The “invisibility cloak” of science fiction is now fact, albeit with limitations. O.R. could claim to have had the power of invisibility for years, though not by desire; what we want is the opposite - a high-visibility jacket! Indeed, part of the mission of the OR Society is to help make our presence more visible. But perception involves both the observed and the observer. And all of us have open and hidden parts.

YOR18 – OR – A Twenty Twenty Vision
The 18th Young [to] OR Conference got off to a great start with the plenary session given by the President of the OR Society, Dr Geoff Royston. Antuela Tako, the chair of the organising committee, began the proceedings by telling the audience what had been planned for them and how to find out more about streams.

The Education & Research Committee
- Roles and Responsibilities: Brian Dangerfield (Liaison with ESRC)
Ruth Kaufman, Inside OR February 2013

Tab Image

Posted on 02 June 2018

Entertainment

The musical mood of the nation

The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, has urged his colleagues to examine the musical mood of the nation when contemplating changes to the Bank’s interest rate.

How could an increase in Taylor Swift downloads or a decline in the popularity of rock and roll be relevant for managing the economy?
It all comes down to measuring economic sentiment. This is a way of gauging how people feel about the economy, which behavioural economists use to make predictions about how it will respond to different policies. For example, if people are generally pessimistic about the economy then raising interest rates might encourage them to stop borrowing and spending by so much that it harms the economy.
For some time, researchers have been able to measure economic sentiment by analysing the language used in large numbers of online news stories and Twitter posts. But recently, researchers from Claremont Graduate University have shown that sentiment may be extracted from pop music top-100 lists and music platforms such as Spotify. What’s more, these new sentiment indicators are at least as useful as conventional surveys of consumer confidence.
The idea is that songs have an emotional component that anyone can relate to, encoded in musical attributes such as the songs’ energy, tempo and volume. Online music services such as Spotify already use these kinds of attributes to categorise songs and recommend new music to users based on similar tracks they have already listened to.
You can also understand the emotions expressed by songs from their lyrics, depending on your cultural background. These can be analysed using the same “natural-language processing” software that is used to assess the language of news and Twitter feeds.
This can be done in a simple fashion, encoding words’ positive or negative emotional loading, or more elaborately by matching words to eight core emotions: joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise, trust and anticipation. The software then counts up the number of times each emotion is cued within a song’s lyrics.
By identifying the emotional components of the most popular songs, researchers can put together a picture of listeners’ own feelings and use this to predict economic sentiment. Running the emotion mapping exercise on all songs in a top-100 chart captures the lion’s share of new music being purchased and listened to on a month-by-month basis.
This is where the advantages of using “big data” from large numbers of people come to the fore. Survey results only tell you what people who have chosen to participate want you to know. Music charts, on the other hand, reflect actual consumer choices from a much wider group of people.