Saturday, September 04, 2010

9/11 emotions

Wray Herbert for APS News (September 1, 2010)

Anger trumped fear on 9/11

Wray Herbert asks the question:

If a terrorist attack provokes mostly anger instead of fear, does that mean it has failed?

His APS blog posting follows a a new study, which tracked Americans’ reactions throughout the day of September 11, 2001. The timeline begins at 6:45 AM, two hours before the attacks on the World Trade Center, and continues until 12:44 AM the following day—covering 20 hours in all.

It shows that emotions like hate and wrath were present immediately after the first attack—and increased steadily and strongly the more people learned about the nature of the attacks.

Thw study is by scientists at the Johannes Guttenberg University MainzMitja Back, Albrecht Kufner, and Boris Egloff, who analyzed the content of thousands of text messages sent on 9/11 published anonymously on the Internet by WikiLeaks.

The primary emotion of 9/11 was anger. Text messages expressed indignation and annoyance and outright hatred immediately after the first crash—and it grew strongly and steadily all day long.


The Emotional Timeline of September 11, 2001
Mitja D. Back, Albrecht C.P. K├╝fner, and Boris Egloff
Psychological Science first published on August 30, 2010 as doi:10.1177/0956797610382124

Link to Psy Sci article [registration required]

Link to APS press release

Link to APS News Wray Herbert article

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