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Virtual IACM 2021

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What are We Talking About? Natural Language Processing in Conversation

This symposium is designed to advance research on conflict management by bringing together leading scholars examining state-of-the-art applications of natural language processing. Language is endemic to almost every aspect of our relationships - we talk and write to each other all the time. However, the dominant paradigms for studying social interactions involves indirect measures of communication - for example, by manipulating language in a lab experiment, or by surveying people about their previous interactions. These methods allow researchers to structure their data in advance. But naturally occurring data from communication - the text and speech itself - is unstructured, and presents many common analytical challenges for those who care about the consequences of that communication. The presentations in this symposium demonstrate how that communication can be measured directly. Each presenter considers natural language data from common and difficult conversations throughout an organization. And in each case, natural language processing is used to show that the content of the communication has direct consequences for organizational outcomes. Across different field settings, we show how our analyses can also provide evidence for biases and information gaps that can inform behavioral models of decision-making in conversation.

Michael Yeomans
Imperial College London
United Kingdom

Lara Yang
Stanford University
United States

Ada Aka
University of Pennsylvania
United States

Ariella Kristal
Harvard University
United States

Grant Packard
York University


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