“Hot Paper” Spotlight: Senators and Greed Communication

What talking-points predict the reach and approval of US senators? Well, according to a recent study*, it might be greed.

In a paper led by Dr. Eric Mercadante (a UBC Psychology Grad Student at the time of the study, but now a post-doc at NYU Stern School of Business), researchers looked at every tweet of every sitting US senator between 2013 and 2021 in order to analyze how greed communication might correlate with senators’ reach (retweets) and online approval (favourites). And, as it turns out, the degree of greed communication predicts the reach and approval of both the tweet itself and the senator in general.

This paper was also published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) – one of the most renowned general science journals. Check it out here: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2218680120

Moreover, it was featured in one of Spain’s most prestigious newspapers, El País: https://elpais.com/espana/elecciones-generales/2023-07-04/la-campana-electoral-muta-y-se-traslada-a-las-redes.html

And UBC also did a press release on the study: https://psych.ubc.ca/news/greed-is-good-for-likes-and-retweets-if-youre-a-u-s-senator-new-research/

*Mercadante, E. J., Tracy, J. L., & Götz, F. M. (2023). Greed communication predicts the approval and reach of US senators’ tweets. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2218680120