Emotional analysis vs sentiment analysis: similarities and differences

Although many people regard a sentiment and an emotion as synonyms, the scientists working with NLP are not using these terms interchangeably. This article will show you the differences and similarities as well as their practical meaning.

The difference between emotions and sentiments

Emotions are complex descriptions of feelings such as happiness or anger and a sentiment is a presentation of a certain opinion or a thought produced by a scope of emotions about a particular event. Thus, their nature is different as sentiments are structured while emotions are raw. Still, emotional analysis can be viewed as a higher form of evolution of sentiment analysis.

The reason for it is the fact a computer observes sentiments through the prism of polarity of being either negative or positive. Some techniques also study neutrality and intensity of sentiments.

Emotional analysis can be challenging for humans themselves who quite frequently fail to perceive right not only the emotions of other individuals but also of their own, for instance, missing the difference between rage, anger and frustration.

Practical meaning of the analyses of emotions and sentiments

Undoubtedly, emotional analysis can give more information about the psychological state of a person. For instance, for the customer service industry, this allows to predict client’s behaviour triggered by certain emotions. Yet, due to its cost-effectiveness, sentiment analyses remains more common today.

Furthermore, some companies are concerned about the way emotional analysis can affect their relationship with clients who will see any response of a company as a result given by a predicting algorithm rather than natural human communication.


Sentiment and emotional analyses rely on the same techniques, however, the latter one requires more complex models based on the same algorithms. As a result, emotion recognition gives more insights into the human response which can be of a great use in many industries.