Here at the APEX of Innovation, we typically discuss how data and analytics can help companies achieve business outcomes and operate more competitively. But in today’s post, we’ll be looking at what data science has revealed about the way we live and work, based off of this great read in The Conversation

How We Express Emotion 

The rise of social media has given researchers new fodder for analyzing patterns in communication and human emotion. For example, an Australian initiative maps out language used on social media to determine the general mood within particular cities and countries down to the specific day and hour. When coupled with data such as weather, holidays, and economic fluctuations, this data can provide insight into how expressing emotions changes over time. 

How Language Has Evolved

Tools such as the Google Books n-gram viewer can show the relative frequency of a specific term or phrase as its use has evolved over hundreds of years. The Conversation piece also profiles a recent study that used machine learning to show the long-term, consistent changes in how we use language. The researchers discovered an inflection point in the 1980s where language became more egocentric, emotional and, they argue, less rational. 

The Location Effect 

Another fascinating fact data science has revealed about humanity is how elevation impacts personality. One study found that people living in mountainous regions tend to have different personality traits than those living at sea level, with greater emotional stability and an openness to new experiences among the primary characteristics of those in the former group.

There is also a link between occupation and personality traits—for example, scientists tend to be open to new ideas but also ready to argue, whereas tennis professionals are generally friendly and outgoing. 

How We Behave in the Workforce 

By analyzing how individuals behave en masse in the work environment, companies can obtain valuable information that can inform hiring and retention strategies, continuing education, and workplace intervention. For example, one study found that the individuals who were quickest to re-enter the workforce displayed key behaviors, including being an early riser and more geographically mobile.

These are just a few of the findings explored in The Conversation piece, so be sure to take a look for more examples of what data science has revealed about us—and what this might mean for the future.