One Angry Bird

One Angry Bird

Organisation: Periscopic (United States)

Publication Date: 03/29/2017


Size of team/newsroom:small


The inaugural address contains the first words uttered by a new president. It is an untarnished moment during which the American leader can set the presidential tone, inspire a country, put an election to rest, and look to the future. We examined the facial expressions of the last six presidents during the past 10 inaugural addresses, and revealed remarkable differences in the moods and emotions they conveyed. Five of the past six presidents were either positive or measured during their speeches, a striking contrast to the negative countenance found in President Trump’s inaugural remarks.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Shown here in the form of collected emotion arcs, each “feather” represents an inaugural address. Each barb of the feather is a moment (~0.5 second) during the speech where the president displayed an emotion — positive emotions are drawn above the quill, negative emotions below. The length of each barb represents the intensity of the emotion. The curve of the feather itself indicates the overall positivity or negativity of the speech. Visitors can interact with the feathers to see more information and matching video segment for each emotion. Since the Emotion API does not analyze the audio portion, we have removed it. While this does not provide a thorough analysis of the inaugural addresses, it does show a distinctive negative departure by Trump from the past nine speeches.

Technologies used for this project:

We used the Microsoft Emotion API to detect facial expressions of the presidents while speaking. The emotions it identifies are similar to the 7 most widely identified emotions cross-culturally. We also used modern web technologies.


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