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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Language and Social Dynamics

Talk Summary

Nowadays, people are becoming more and more relying on online services to communicate, make friends, and present their opinions. Therefore, there exist an  abundant production of digital data left in the form of natural language format. Those natural-language evidences are very valuable for researchers to achieve deeper understanding of human's social activities.

In this talk, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil talks about three of his efforts in this field - developing computational techniques to analyze digital language-format data to trace human's social dynamics. The first project is about the relations between users and their communities, for instance, how a user change his/her activities along with the evolution of the community, or how to predict when a user will leave a community, etc. By investigating the evidence of linguistic changes, Cristian shows that users follow a determined life cycle (from joining a community to leaving the community) with respect to their tendency to learn new community norms. At first, users are positive to adopt new community norms, so the predefined "distance" (based on linguistic information) between individuals and communities would decrease. However after a period of time, users would stop evolving with communities and the distance would increase accordingly. Such increasing-distance is able to predict the departure in the near future.

The second project is about politeness. He proposes a computational framework to identify and characterize politeness. Besides, his results reveal that people who finally gain success are generally polite before they achieve huge success. Once they reach a high status, the role transformation to leaders would cause them to be more direct and less polite.

The third project is about conversation patterns and friendship evolution. He shows that conversational patterns are predictive of future break-up and betrayal. The betrayer will exhibit rude or impatient behaviors to the victim before he/she betrays.

About the Talk:
Title: Language and Social Dynamics
Speaker: Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil
Talk URL:

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