Your next reaction GIF stops here.
In a culture where emoticons and emojis can pretty much replace a human face, GIFs are about to take over. MIT is attempting, with the help of Viewers Like You, to prove that a properly placed GIF can accurately convey human emotion.
Travis Rich and Kevin Hu, with inspiration from the Place Pulse project which previously used a similar format to measure how people perceived different neighborhoods, have launched GifGif, a website that will attempt to accurately categorize GIFs based on which emotion they depict. The site asks users to choose between one of two GIFs (or neither if that's the case) based on how accurately it portrays a certain emotion. After making a few selections, you're rewarded with achievements such as "Getting the hang of it" and "You're not at work?" (oops). The emotion remains the same as information is collected until you choose to change it.
The fascinating thing is that each GIF is then ranked within one of these 17 emotions: amusement, anger, contempt, contentment, disgust, embarrassment, excitement, fear, guilt, happiness, pleasure, pride relief, sadness, satisfaction, shame, and surprise. You can click on "results" and choose an emotion to see which GIF scored the highest and lowest, which is super helpful when you need to think of a killer GIF reply and Google just isn't cutting it.
The purpose of this study, according to the GifGif website, is to answers questions surrounding the influence that GIFs have on how we express emotion. "Does a GIFs emotional variance impact how it's received?" and "Does a GIFs emotional content vary between cultures?" will hopefully be answered by the end of the study. This also creates an incredible internet tool that will house GIFs that accurately depict the emotion you want to portray, based on real life data instead of the often less-than-useful tags that it was uploaded with.
Not only is the test serving the purpose of proving the immense influence internet culture has on expressing human emotions, it's also a pretty freakin' great archive of GIFs, completely aggregated by emotion, based on how real people perceived them. So the next time your best friend tells you that you definitely got way too drunk last night and made everyone refer to you as the Queen of Sheba, you can find the perfect GIF to express your embarrassment (or pride).