Emotional relativity states that each experienced emotion is relative to the individual’s past experience of events, each of which in turn has evoked an emotion relative to the events preceding it. Every event is encoded in the individual’s emotional memory, recording the emotion experienced, as a definition for the particular emotion. An event, in this sense, refers to any subjective experience that evokes an emotion; it can be as big as a world war, or as small as blinking your eyes.

In order to fully comprehend this theory, we need to introduce the concept of conceptualising core affect, or in other words, why people attach emotion labels to the experience of emotion qualia. Qualia refers to subjective 'raw feels', for example, the taste of red wine, or the experience of seeing the colour red. Emotion qualia thus refers to the raw feel of an emotion; the actual phenomenon of a particular emotion experienced may actually differ according to each person's perception of that emotion, with perception being the result of the individual's past and hypothesised responses, unique to each human being.

We explore this idea by measuring the valence and arousal of the twelve most popular emotion keywords expressed on the micro-blogging site Twitter in three geographical regions: Europe, Asia and North America. We demonstrate that in our sample, the valence and arousal levels of the same emotion keywords differ significantly with respect to these geographical regions — Europeans are, or at least present themselves as more positive and aroused, North Americans are more negative and Asians appear to be more positive but less aroused when compared to global valence and arousal levels of the same emotion keywords.