Networks of Emotion Concepts

R. Toivonen, M. Kivelä, J. Saramäki, M. Viinikainen, M. Vanhatalo, M. Sams

The aim of this work was to study the similarity network and hierarchical clustering of Finnish emotion concepts. Native speakers of Finnish evaluated similarity between the 50 most frequently used Finnish words describing emotional experiences. We hypothesized that methods developed within network theory, such as identifying clusters and specific local network structures, can reveal structures that would be difficult to discover using traditional methods such as multidimensional scaling (MDS) and ordinary cluster analysis. The concepts divided into three main clusters, which can be described as negative, positive, and surprise. Negative and positive clusters divided further into meaningful sub-clusters, corresponding to those found in previous studies. Importantly, this method allowed the same concept to be a member in more than one cluster. Our results suggest that studying particular network structures that do not fit into a low-dimensional description can shed additional light on why subjects evaluate certain concepts as similar. To encourage the use of network methods in analyzing similarity data, we provide the analysis software for free use (

PloS ONE 7(1): e28883

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