A year of being where I belong, yet not being where I belong!

Posted: October 9, 2017 by Nirmal Sivaraman in Uncategorized

After working for 7.5 years in the software industry, I came back to where I belong – the academia – on 10th October 2016. Today – 10th October 2017 – I complete a year of my service as a teacher in The LNM Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur. I would like to share my thoughts about my experience this year.

A year of bliss

If I summarize my experience in one word, it would be “freedom” – “intellectual freedom” to be specific.  I was free to pursue my own research interests, it was okay to be a little crazy, it was okay to fail, it was okay to still try the same crazy ideas again and again. I did and I continue to do. This is one of the very few things that I find to be meaningful and blissful.

We stumbled up on many many many research problems. Many times I felt that 24 hours are not sufficient in a day. But I learnt to set my priorities and work towards them. We (myself, Sakthi Sir and our students) submitted 4 papers and a project proposal in first six months and got one accepted in a reputed conference as a poster. All the others got rejected. We are still working on them and three of the papers that got rejected are in a position to be submitted again. We are working on one more paper and one more project proposal.

Initiated collaborated research with a few professors in India and in Europe. As a part of this, a student went for internship in IIIT – Bengaluru and another student is joining the King’s college London this week.

Guided two MTech students along with Sakthi Sir. Worked on many many projects with the students. At any given time, there were and are at least 30 students in the combined guidance of myself and Sakthi Sir. Apart from adding value to their projects, this activity is a precious source of knowledge and ideas for us.

In short, it has been a dream run for the researcher in me.

The second thing that I find to be meaningful are the relationships with people. I met a lot of new interesting people and I got some great relationships.

First thing is that I could be with Sakthi Sir and his family – Shubha akka and his kids. I get to interact with Sakthi Sir – the reason why I came here ditching a PhD position in King’s College London – on a daily basis especially when we travel together to the institute and back. He has been a person who gave his ears to all my crazy thoughts and who used to share his crazy thoughts with me too (sometimes, not crazy ones also J). What makes him special is that I can just be myself in front of him – if he likes something, he appreciates and if he doesn’t like something, he tells it on my face. No nonsense, no bullshit, only discussions on our crazy thoughts and a lot of tea and a lot of laughter.

Secondly, I could meet some extraordinary students who went on to become my close friends. The energy, enthusiasm and capability of most of the students whom I worked with are not only wonderful, but also contagious. This motivates me to work more and more. Here also, a lot of tea and a lot of fun, a lot of pulling each other’s legs (though they used to be a lil skeptical about pulling my leg as still they see the ‘faculty’ hat on my head that I am trying hard to shed) and a lot of laughter. Some of them graduated a few months back, but we are still in regular touch and we continue to do our research work with some of them.

Thirdly, it is in this year that me and my love Jyothi became proud parents of our beautiful daughter Dhwani. This is a feeling and experience that I have never seen before.

The third thing that I find meaningful is music. I had the opportunity to listen to and appreciate a lot of wonderful songs thanks to Sakthi Sir again. We used to listen to Carnatic songs while we travel in the car and he used to explain their technicalities. I value it so much because I feel that music is a piece of myself that I lost somewhere in my journey. Now, slowly, I am getting opportunity to spend time with it.

A year of pain

My first pain is about not being able to spend time with my parents, my home, my sister and her family. I feel incomplete without them. I feel guilty of not being able to look after my parents the way they deserve. Second pain is about being away from my love Jyothi since she went to our home town for her delivery. I miss her and our little Dhwani a lot. Third pain is about missing my friends who graduated from our institute. I used to go for lunch and tea with some of them every day. How can I not miss them? But last two pains are a little sweet pains because they are for some good reasons. However, the first pain is not.

A year of teaching

To help me land smoothly, I was assigned with a subject that had some connection with the job that I had been doing. This helped me a lot. During this time, I taught around 350 students in the classroom. However, I have never seen them all attending the class since attendance was not compulsory in my class. The reason why I made it so wat to filter out the signal from the noise. This way, whoever was in my class really wanted to learn and we had no one in the class who sat there for the sake of sitting. I learned a lot from them. I learned that I have to improve myself a lot. I am trying hard to become a good teacher. Many students helped me to understand the concepts more clearly through their questions. I appreciate the guidance and support that I received and continue to receive from my colleagues to make myself a better teacher.

One thing that I noticed in the students is that they are immensely talented and capable, but they seldom realize this. If any of my students is reading this, please go back, look in the mirror and try to see the real you in yourself. Once you realize it, nothing can stop you from achieving what you want.

Almost a year of formal learning

I enrolled for my PhD in December 2016. I did two course works in my first semester – WordNet and Events in Language and Cognition. Currently I am doing the last two course works – Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics. I have a publication and a few papers are in pipeline.

I enjoyed the weekly technical talk series that all the research scholars conduct. It is nice to get to know the work that other research scholars are doing and to share my work with them. I gave three talks and they helped me immensely.

A year with The LNMIIT

I remember my interview by a panel that included people like the then director Prof. Gokhale, Prof. Pandurangan, Prof. Gorthi, Prof. Bolloju, etc. I am proud to have interviewed by this panel.

After I joined the institute, Sakthi Sir and Gorthi Sir ensured that I had all the necessary information and help whenever I needed it.

The campus is beautiful with a lot of trees, beautiful girls and handsome guys.

My experience with The LNMIIT has been very good academically. However, I feel that the institute can improve a lot by streamlining the processes and introducing a good information management system.

A year in Jaipur

What I noticed the most about the people in Jaipur is their laid back approach to their life. They appreciate and live in the moment. They are not in a hurry running after anything contrary to what I saw in Bengaluru. However, this comes with its own difficulties – especially while we drive this can be a challenge, a big one. We cannot say that the driving discipline here is bad because it doesn’t even exist here.

Another thing that I enjoyed is the food here. It is just awesome. Also the city is nice city with no much traffic (my Jaipurian friend would not agree with this, but I suggest them to stay in Bengaluru for a few days). However, the city is not very well connected by public transport. The situation is like I have to request the institute to give me a cab allowance J. Also, the climate that ranges from 3 degrees to 50 degrees has been really challenging for me and Jyothi.

In a nutshell

Last year has been immensely fruitful and blissful professionally making me feel that this is where I belong. However, last year has also been painful because I had not been able to be with my parents at my home where I belong. This puts me in a funny state of being where I belong, yet not being where I belong!

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Nirmal Kumar S, Sakthi Balan M, Pushkal Agarwal, Lokesh Todwal 

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, LNMIIT, Jaipur, India

We collected the tweets regarding three hashtags #BlackMoney, #IndiaFightsCorruption, and #BlackMoneyCleanup from 8th November 2016 to 20th November 2016. We got around 3.5 lakh tweets with #BlackMoney posted by around 135000 users, around 1 lakh tweets with #IndiaFightsCorruption posted by around 60000 users, and around 30000 tweets with #BlackMoneyCleanup posted by around 18000 users. This makes it a total of around 4.8 lakh tweets posted by around 2.15 lakh users.

The entire tweets with #BlackMoneyCleanup and a representative random sample of 10% of the total tweets with the other two hashtags were taken  for analysis. Below are the outcomes of our analysis.

The number of tweets having positive, negative and neutral polarities are given in table 1 and is plotted in figure 1.

Table 1 Polarity-wise distribution of tweets

Polarity

Number of Tweets
#BlackMoney #IndiaFightsCorruption #BlackMoneyCleanup

Negative

9971 2540 8296
Neutral 4711 1059

3080

Positive 20782 7350

19751

 

1

Figure 1 Plot of Polarity-wise distribution of Tweets

Positive is the dominant polarity. This means that majority of the people tweeted in favor of demonetization. The second dominant polarity is negative, but the number of tweets with negative polarity is less than half of the tweets with positive polarity. Interestingly, all the hashtags show the same trend.

The number of tweets that show different emotions are given in table 2 and is plotted in figure 2. Most of the tweets did not show the characteristic emotions. We are considering only the tweets that showed any of the six emotions that were proposed by Paul Ekman. These are widely accepted as the basic human emotions.

Table 2 Emotion-wise distribution of tweets

Emotion

Number of Tweets
#BlackMoney #IndiaFightsCorruption #BlackMoneyCleanup

Anger

869 111 1193

Disgust

169 20 92

Fear

296 51

448

Joy 5668 1605

2581

Sadness 674 106

700

Surprise 273 44

184

 

3.png

Figure 2 Emotion-wise distribution of tweets

Here, you can see that the dominant emotion is joy and the second dominant emotion is anger. Again, the number of tweets that express anger is far less than (much less than half) the number of tweets that express joy. Here also, all the three hashtags show the same trend.

The number of positive, negative and neutral tweets in the tweets with each emotion on #BlackMoney, #IndiaFighytsCorruption and #BlackMoneyCleanup are shown in Tables 3, 4 and 5 respectively. They are plotted in Figures 3, 4 and 5 respectively.

Table 3 Polarity-wise distribution of emotional tweets on #BlackMoney

 

Anger Disgust Fear Joy Sadness Surprise

Negative

553 134 215 1862 380 63
Neutral 114 20 32 983 207

56

Positive 202 15 49 2823 87

154

 

4.png

Figure 3 Polarity-wise distribution of emotional tweets on #BlackMoney

 Table 4 Polarity-wise distribution of emotional tweets on #IndiaFightsCorruption

Anger Disgust Fear Joy Sadness Surprise

Negative

75 15 40 375 34 9
Neutral 7 1 4 577 59

10

Positive 29 4 7 653 13

25

 

5.png

Figure 4 Polarity-wise distribution of emotional tweets on #IndiaFightsCorruption

Table 5 Polarity-wise distribution of emotional tweets on #BlackMoneyCleanup

Anger Disgust Fear Joy Sadness Surprise

Negative

310 74 259 420 451 42
Neutral 774 4 66 383 220

50

Positive 109 14 123 1778 29

92

 

6.png

Figure 5 Polarity-wise distribution of emotional tweets on #BlackMoneyCleanup

Here, you can see that the dominant combination is positive joy in all the three hashtags. However, in case of the second dominant combination, the hashtags show different trends. The second dominant combination is negative joy for #BlackMoney, neutral joy for #IndiaFightsCorruption and neutral anger for #BlackMoneyCleanup.

One Year Old!

Posted: June 17, 2016 by Some Grey Matters in Uncategorized

I am an one year old baby in academics and this post is going to be a collection of my thoughts I have had for the past one year or so (before and after joining academics). In this first post I will concentrate on my general thoughts about joining LNMIIT. In the next post I will write on my thoughts on academics versus corporate.

To change from the world of “Hi” and “Bye” types to the world of “Good morning sir!” types was not an easy transformation personally, emotionally, economically, psychologically, socially, academically and logistically. When I decided to move out of an IT job my only aim was to regain my academic strength which I felt had lost its rigour when I was working in industry. When many IITs started showing only the entry level positions for me even after my industrial experience I decided I am not going to join an IIT at least as of now. That was the first jolt on my head. To add to the misery in one of the interviews for an IIT faculty position one of very senior professor from my parent institution whom I know very well passed on a comment directly to me on face that I have lost that midas touch that I was having during my PhD time after joining the industry. Even though I felt really bad hearing those words after few days I regained my composure. I took that comment positively and this made me even more stronger to look for avenues other than IITs. With some IIITs that I was interested in did not show interest in me because of my research topic I had to seriously look for the next tier institutes. That moment I came to know about LNMIIT and a few other private institutions through some colleagues and seniors. This is the moment I got some good advice from my colleagues and seniors. I will not name any one here but they still are my  great advisors.

As you all know in India private institutions are many but very few are of “some” class. Most of these institutions are teaching institutes who go on producing and manufacturing most of the students basically for IT jobs with few for exporting them to US and other Western Institutions. They are just manufacturing industries and in most of these institutions the research part is almost zero. So my choices were very few and it made my decision easier in that sense. LNMIIT was one of the best option for me for the following reasons:

  • When LNMIIT was started the academic seeds were sown by very senior highly experienced IIT professors so the IIT environment to an extent is still prevalent here
  • Teachers are everything here. Once the course is allotted it is the teachers responsibility to handle the course in the manner that he/she wants to approach. This gives lots of academic freedom to the faculties that any older IITs enjoy
  • It is a deemed university so there is sufficient facility to create our own advanced level courses and deliver it in the sense that we want. For example, in some courses we may even take off the end semester exams and go ahead with capstone projects
  • Students should be good since LNMIIT selects most of the students on the basis of IIT JEE Main exams score and that is always greater than the cutoff for the IIT JEE advanced exam
  • Students selection is purely based on merit and merit only
  • Non-intrusive nature of the institute in the academic work of the faculties

At the same time when I thought of disadvantages I was thinking about the following:

  • Jaipur is too far away from my place of stay (Bangalore)
  • When compared to the places that I have lived in Jaipur is relatively not a very well developed city
  • Institute is not a very well known place even within India
  • Institute is primarily a UG based and so the number of masters and PhD students are very less. So it is going to be a difficult and challenging task for me to carry out research activities
  • Even within Jaipur the institute is far away from the city centre so finding schools and travelling daily to schools for my kids is going to be a very difficult task
  • Extreme climate in Jaipur is going to be a big issue. For anyone who has stayed in a place like Bangalore it is even more a bigger problem
  • Getting research projects from agencies especially the government agencies is going to be difficult and challenging

Every institution has its pros and cons due to various factors but the questions here is how are we going to take pros to our advantage and at the same time address the cons.  How did I address the disadvantages comes in the following paragraphs:

Even though Jaipur and Bangalore are too far away, fortunately, it is very well connected by air with 6 to 8 flights every day being operated between two cities as of today. Jaipur is less polluted, less crowded, less urbanised and not much traffic so its good for me – its an advantage! Institute is not a well known place in India. Yes true! But I remembered my postdoc advisor’s words – don’t be a tail in a king’s den rather join a place where you can be the head and show the path for success to others and build the place for yourself and others! Although I had heard these words quite long back it came like a lightning at the correct moment. Number of masters and PhD students is quite less but I saw that there is a high potential that we can increase this in the very near future. And I am also very hopeful that we can do research even with few of the top UG students and its very heartening to note that I have already done that with few students and many are in pipeline. So in the longer run it does not matter who he is/was what all matters is what work did you do with the students and the quality of the work. 

Institute is far away from the city centre was definitely a big issue for me – for, I don’t want my kids to suffer daily by travelling 30 kms to good schools rather I would take the burden of travelling daily. Best point in Jaipur is you could travel 20+ kms in 30 min which is quite impossible in Bangalore so when we compare distances in India we should compare the travel time only! And that too if there are other faculties who can car pool with you that’s the best thing to have isn’t it? That’s what I have got now!

Extreme climate is another big issue especially when you and your family had lived in a place like Bangalore. Hence myself and my family were prepared for this and it will be a great experience for my kids more than anything else. For me and my wife we have lived in a place in Canada where temperatures have ranged from -28 to +35 so this is going to be another experience for us. Summer has been burning hot but still my family is yet to face the winter here. So I have to wait and watch!

Research projects are just by-products of what you do. So if you do your work nicely and publish outside the projects will come so the onus is on me. Only thing I have to make sure is I get time, place and environment to do good research. In the first year my first job was to get acclimatise as a good teacher which I have done to an extend now my priority is to do good research with students and publish well!

Smiles in your student faces bring miles of satisfaction and that is second to none!

Update: Corrected small typo errors

Marvin Minsky

Posted: January 28, 2016 by Some Grey Matters in cognition, emotion, minsky

Marvin Minsky regarded as the father of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no more. He left this physical world at the age of 88 last Sunday. This is a great loss to the world. But his exemplary works, his lectures, his books and his quotes still make him alive in this world and it will be a great guiding force for researchers in AI, Cognitive Sciences and other related areas.

Although I have read about his work in my younger days, the first time that I came across more seriously on his work was during my seven years stay at Infosys somewhere in the starting of the year 2010.  That was the time I got interested to know more about the area of Emotion Modelling and Emotion Analysis. I together with my colleague (Nirmal, one of the author of this blog site) started to think about what is emotion. Even though, at first, we came across many papers talking about emotions and its negative implications for a human-being in this world we had a feeling that emotion is not that negative as proclaimed in the works that we had collected, rather it should have more positive implications. Unless otherwise it would not have survived the evolution.

So, why did we think that there is more positivity into it. The reason is simple to say but hard to realise. Just think about a human not having any emotions at all. People will say then that what is the big deal he won’t show any expressions, that’s all. Answer to this is you are partially right but you have not understood emotion completely. You are seeing only the behavioral aspects of emotions but there are two more aspects to it. One is the physiological reactions that happens inside the body and the other one, which is the main thing – many will forget or not realise – is the inner feeling. So, when we study about emotions we may have to look into all three aspects. Coming back to the example that we were talking about unless you have emotions is there a way to change the monotonous way of thinking, to prioritize the things you need to do, to know/be aware of the importance of a thing/or an entity? This is what made us to think about the positiveness of emotions. That was the time we came across two of the works done by the legends in this field: (1) Herbert Simon and (2) Marvin Minsky. Herbert Simon in his work said that

“emotions perform the critical important function of interrupting normal cognition when some unattended goals require attention and servicing”       [Herbert Simon 1967]

Minsky in his book on Emotion Machine stated that

“emotions, intuitions, and feelings are not distinct things, but different ways of thinking”

The confidence and the ecstatic feeling that we got when we came across these two statements gave us cannot be explained in mere words. This turned a new leaf in our work. Yes, of course that’s why we call Minsky a legend, right? There may be many many in this world who would have got a new leaf in their life like us. This turned in a new chapter in our thinking and now we are sure that if we need to model emotion then cognition should not be left. Rather, we have to work towards a holistic unified model not a model that has “holes”in it!

All the more, Nirmal sent a mail to Minsky about some of our thinking on emotion treated as human’s resource for problem solving. Surprisingly, he had time to reply to that and that too with lots of positive notes! Such is his humility to answer even patzers in the field like us! That’s why he is a stalwart, is it not?

In fact, every page in his book on Society of Mind deserves at least one PhD work!

I had collected some of his quotes from the Internet and prepared a video out of that. All credits to the original posters of the quotes. This is a very small tribute to him.

 

A Journey through the World of Space and Beyond

Posted: January 23, 2016 by Some Grey Matters in ISRO, LNMIIT, Plinth, Talk

Today was an afternoon to cherish. There are some events that happen and you forget when time goes on but there are some events that happen and sticks to your mind, inspires you and makes you wonder and motivated to ask yourself what I want, what have I done and what I want to do for the country! I am sure when Padma Vibhushan Dr. K. Kasturirangan’s inspiring talk for Plinth  2016 @ LNMIIT came to an end, students and even some faculties like me present there would have felt the same and will live with that kind of motivation and inspiration to do something good for the country.

Basically his talk was on the ISRO’s mission from 1970’s to 2015, his Chairman’s period from 1994 to 2003, his MP of Rajya Sabha from 2003 to 2009 and his present stay at INAE.

His talk started from his years where he started applying for research fellowships. He was very candid to admit that he did not have a vision or aim like to go for space organisation and think of sending satellites. His main aim was to do research work on Cosmic X-Rays sources in the space. But the events from then on and due to advice and guidance from the great Vikram Sarabhai and Prof. Satish Dhawan’s guidance took him to this stage. This shows that you may not have a specific goal in your life to achieve but if you take the events happening in your life to your advantage and excel in what you are doing you can achieve greater things in the longer run. This is a great lesson to the students.

Then he talked about his first project of putting a balloon in the atmosphere to measure some radiations in the atmosphere. First time when they tried on an early morning at 4am it did not succeed since the electronics behaved bad. But when V. Sarabhai met them and came to know about the failure he encouraged them and motivated them. Then within a week they addressed the issue and succeeded in their mission. When V. Sarabhai met them again and came to know about the success he appreciated the team and advised them that since you failed for the first time you would have now learnt ten times more than what you would have learnt when you would have succeeded in the first time itself. What you got from here – if you are with the right person and work hard then the success is guaranteed. Failures makes you sad at that moment but when you think in the long term it will be a stepping stone for your success.

When Prof. Satish Dhawan was the Chairman of ISRO there was an instance where there was a problem in the camera hosted in a satellite. He said in an internal meeting that the camera seems to be dead but an engineer told him that based on his simulation tests it will be fine after one week. This became a challenge between them to which Prof. Satish Dhawan promised the engineer that if he loses he will give his one month salary to him. To which the engineer, in turn, also challenged saying if he looses he will give his one month salary to him. After one week when the camera was switched on, it started working as expected and Prof. Satish Dhawan took a ₹5 note and signed and gave it to the engineer. Engineer got surprised and asked him only ₹5, you promised one month salary?! Prof. Satish Dhawan said yes in fact this money is five times my salary of ₹1 which I get from ISRO. He added that his actual salary is from IISc, Bangalore! These fun happening brought cheers to people and brought ISRO people together and helped them to succeed.

When Dr. K. Kasturirangan was at helm in ISRO he made the environment such that anybody can question anybody in the technical aspects and he added that this made the projects success percentage to grow. His main achievement which he himself admitted as the first success of GSLV launch was not done without problems. First day of the launch the rocket did not start. But he said that was the first time they had designed an aborting program that will stop the vehicle to stop if some thing goes wrong in the four boosters that surrounds the rocket. When they researched why the rocket did not start they found out one of the booster was working only 85% of its capacity so the abort program rightly stopped the vehicle from launching or else it would have created a mayhem. So even in the failure they learnt that the aborting program is working correctly! This is what is all about in real life – you may fail but take good things from it and move on do not get disgruntled with the failures.

His idea of lunar missions and planetary missions when put forth to the then Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee, he named it Chandrayaan 1. When asked why “1” there, Vajpayee told him that why to restrict to one mission you can have many more missions!

He also talked about his Rajya Sabha days where he played an important role in the Nuclear deal with USA.

Reflection on my class

Posted: January 2, 2016 by Some Grey Matters in LNMIIT, UMC Class, Uncategorized

It has been years since this blog got updated. Its time to get started again!

The series of blog on “Reflection on my class”  as the title signifies will be a self-reflection on my classes in Unconventional Models of Computing (UMC) that I am presently taking for 6th semester bachelor students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, LNMIIT, Jaipur.

First class on the first day of the year 2016! UMC as the name itself signifies the approach to do computing is unconventional. But first before going to describe about what is so unconventional about it I wanted to broaden their view about what is computer, computing, informatics and computer science. My emphasis was about this statement – computer science is not about computer but about computing! I gave some examples to pass on the message that nature also computes. For example, bio-organisms always want to survive and in order to achieve that it has various layers of protection very similar to our human immune systems. So, if nature computes can we use that naturally occurring computation somehow to do computation for solving our own computational problems using in vivo experiments? That was my question to the students. I told them this is what is our classes on UMC about – we are going to see how to use DNA strands, peptides, cells and its natural interactions to build a computational model that give rise to DNA computing, peptide computing and cellular computing, respectively.

My next idea was to make them understand with a bit more insight into how computing takes place and at the same time the problem biocomputing models faces. This I wanted to clarify even before explaining the advantages for using those models. Perhaps this can be taken as a disclaimer! For this two objectives, I took the example of our human computing evolution from using pebbles, abacus, calculators and computers. I told them using pebbles is computing. All the more when we use pebbles we represent it for some other physical object. We are finding a relation, in fact an 1-1 function. In an abacus, the same representation happens but there is a manual intervention (to move the beads) needed to do the computing – computing here basically is arithmetical operations. We have an algorithm but that is executed by a human. Now comes the calculator it also does (mainly) the same arithmetical operations (little more heavy) but once the input is given no need for any human intervention. Operations are performed automatically by the circuits inside. Now comes the basic silicon model computers where there is a stored program concept where we are offered some basic operations and we can write a program based on those basic operations and store it in the memory and can be executed anytime, anywhere and many times too. Here too, no manual intervention is needed. But in biocomputing models I showed this picture (taken from DNA Computing book)

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 2.53.45 PM

This picture presents us with many questions. Some essential questions to ask are

  1. Processing happens in test tubes. So, if two test tube solution is going to be poured into one who is going to do that?
  2. Who is going to find which test tube has to be selected and which test tube has to be left out?
  3. We may use a robot to do both the above steps but in that case who is going to instruct the robot?

So, in general biocomputing models needs manual intervention. As of now there is no stored program or automatic execution of program concepts. But it has its own advantages if not why are we going to study these models, isn’t it?  We will see this in the next series of posts.

The Circumplex Model of Affect

Posted: June 10, 2013 by Some Grey Matters in Uncategorized

It has been quite sometime since we posted anything here. Here we go! This time we briefly explain about the circumplex model of affect.

We are familiar with many emotions. Are there any relations among them? Or, are they independent? Happiness and sadness looks dependent such that when one increases, the other decreases and vice versa. What about others like surprise and happiness? We cannot directly state a relation. These kinds of curiosities lead  to the circumplex model of affect.

So, what is circumplex model of affect?

This model postulates that the underlying structure of affective experience can be characterized as an ordering of affective states on the circumference of a circle as shown in the following figure.

Circumplex Model

Figure: The Circumplex Model of Affect [Promises and Problems with the Circumplex Model of Emotion,” by R. J. Larson and E. Diener, in M. S. Clark (Ed.), 1992, Review of Personality and Social Psychology: Emotion (Vol. 13, p. 31), Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Copyright 1992 by Sage]

Originally proposed by Schlosberg [Schlosberg, H. (1941). A scale for the judgment of facial expressions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 29, 497-510., Schlosberg, H. (1952). The description of facial expression in terms of two dimensions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 44, 229-237.], this model is most extensively elaborated upon by Russell [Russell, J. A., & Pratt, G. (1980). A description of the affective quality attributed to environments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,38, 311-322].

According to this model, affective states should have decreasing positive correlations with one another as their separation from one another approaches 90°. At 90° separation, two affective states should be uncorrelated with one another. As the separation approaches 180°, affective states should have increasing negative correlations with one another. Here we can observe that it is plotted in a two dimensional scale (positive – negative and high arousal – low arousal). The following figure shows 28 affect words plotted in this scale.

28 Affect

28 Affect

Figure: 28 affect concepts in circular order [Russel, J Al, A circumplex model of affect, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1980, Vol. 39, No. 6, pages 1161 – 1178].

There are some criticisms against this model. The criticisms are that the two dimensional representation fails to capture important aspects of emotional experience and therefore sometimes does not reflect crucial differences among some emotions, the model was formulated on the basis of a selection of emotions that was not guided by systematic sampling or clear theoretical guidelines, different versions of the model sometimes postulate different locations for affective states and that empirically affective states are not always located in their predicted regions of the circle, etc.