Current Research
In astronomy and biology, the telescope and the microscope helped us describe phenomena far beyond our limitations, opening up vast new scientific realms. With the SOCKS program, we’re working to do the same for stories by building and refining instruments that can ‘distantly read’ and make sense of enormous collections of texts, whether they be libraries of books, streaming social media, or Vermont folktales from the 1800s. We need to understand how stories evolve and spread, the effects stories have on populations, and with SOCKS, we will help grow a measurement-first science of stories.


Language is humanity’s greatest social technology. While we’ve been communicating for thousands of years, it is only recently that we’ve begun sharing content online—posting selfies, searching for validation, and expressing our uninformed opinions in hot takes and quote tweets. Making sense of all that is being said is a tall order, best suited to a suite of algorithms. Computers can digest bits of language and help us describe, explain, and understand cultural phenomenon at the scale of human populations. The StoryWrangler instrument reflects our first step towards wrestling the day’s events into coherence. It is an approximate daily leaderboard for language popularity around the globe. More...


It’s what most people say they want. So how do we know how happy people are? You can’t improve or understand what you can’t measure. In a blow to happiness, we’re very good at measuring economic indices and this means we tend to focus on them. With our flagship instrument at we’ve created an instrument that measures the happiness of large populations in near real time. We also link to applications of the instrument to literature, movies, and news. More...