The Science Of “Angry Typing”

August 29, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

In the digital age of text-centric communication, we must keep searching for increasingly subtle clues about how other people are feeling. Anyone who lives or works with another person will have noted that the sound of someone’s typing seems to fluctuate with their mood, particularly if that mood is “REALLY FUKiNG PISSED OFF SACYSBGOUYASGASJXCASD.”

Now, a recent study has proven that our emotions really do effect our style of typing. A computer program was able to guess reasonably accurately what people were feeling by the rhythm, speed, and use of backspace in their typing, along with an analysis of the content of their writing. Researchers at the Islamic University of Technology in Bangladesh asked subjects to type out sentences from Alice In Wonderland while reporting their feelings. Then, using that data, they were able to predict someone’s emotions based on their typing alone. The success rate varied from emotion to emotion. The computer detected joy 87% of the time, while anger was detected in 81% of cases.

One day your computer may even be able to warn you to not send that email to your boss.

[Scientist Clayton Epp] foresees an “emotional instant messaging client”: an app that works like a more sophisticated form of emoticon. Subtle cues would alert the recipient to the emotional message’s tone, allowing people to communicate more naturally.

(Photo: Mish Mish)