“I Want to Talk About, Again, My Record On Energy…”: Modeling Agendas and Framing in Political Debates and Other Conversations – Philip Resnik (University of Maryland)

April 26, 2013 all-day

Computational social science has been emerging over the last several years as a hotbed of interesting work, taking advantage of, to quote Lazer et al. (Science, v.323), “digital traces that can be compiled into comprehensive pictures of both individual and group behavior, with the potential to transform our understanding of our lives, organizations, and societies.” Within that larger setting, I’m interested in how language is used to influence people, with an emphasis on computational modeling of agendas (who is most effectively directing attention, and toward what topics?), framing or “spin” (what underlying perspective does this language seek to encourage?), and sentiment (how does someone feel, as evidenced in the language they use)? These questions are particularly salient in political discourse. In this talk, I’ll present recent work looking at political debates and other conversations using Bayesian models to capture relevant aspects of the conversational dynamics, as well as new methods for collecting people’s reactions to speeches, debates, and other public conversations on a large scale.This talk includes work done in collaboration with Jordan Boyd-Graber, Viet-An Nguyen, Deborah Cai, Amber Boydstun, Rebecca Glazier, Matthew Pietryka, and Tim Jurka.
Philip Resnik is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, holding a joint appointment at UMD’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, and the director of UMD’s Computational Linguistics and Information Processing (CLIP ) Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania (1993), and has worked in industry R&D at Bolt Beranek and Newman, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, and Sun Microsystems Laboratories. His research emphasizes combining linguistic knowledge and statistical methods in computational linguistics, with a focus on applications in machine translation and computational social science. He co-edited The Balancing Act: Combining Symbolic and Statistical Approaches to Language (MIT Press, 1996, with Judith Klavans), and has served on the editorial boards of Computational Linguistics, Cognition, Computers and the Humanities, and Linguistics in Language Technology. As extracurricular activities, he was a technical founder of CodeRyte Inc., a provider of language technology solutions in healthcare (acquired last year by 3M), he has served as lead scientist for Converseon, a leading social media consultancy, and he is currently commercializing React Labs, a mobile platform for real-time polling.

Center for Language and Speech Processing