Measuring Communication Intelligence in Online Interactions

24 Oct
Wednesday, 10/24/2012 6:00am to 8:00am
Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense

Xiaoxi Xu

Computer Science Building, Room 151

Haven't you wondered why some people communicate better than others? Research has shown that people have multiple intelligences, including IQ, EQ (i.e., emotional intelligence), and SQ (i.e., social intelligence). Practical experiences teach us that the combination of these intelligences enables people to communicate well. Skillful behaviors are good predictors of intelligences and some intelligences (i.e., EQ and SQ) can be learned and strengthened through skill practice. In this proposal defense, we propose a new form of intelligence, called communication intelligence, to explore how effectively people communicate online. We derive this new intelligence from theories of multiple intelligences and other theories in communication studies. We believe that success in online communication largely depends upon participants' communication intelligences.

Using high-order communication skills as proxies, measuring communication intelligence involves two steps: (1) identifying a set of intelligence-embodied communication skills, and (2) computing a participant's communication intelligence based on the use of these skills. In this dissertation proposal, we present new hierarchical probabilistic topic models and novel regularized multi-task machine learning formulations to simultaneously identify multiple skill labels from online text and domain-independent features. We also develop a new method for computing communication intelligence based on learned skill labels. By measuring communication intelligence, we decode what influences effective communication in online dispute contexts. As another contribution to the intersection of communication studies and computer science, we develop a new theory about communication intelligence based on existing theories about communication as deliberation, multiple intelligences, and the zone of proximal development. With the goal of helping participants improve their communication intelligences, this research contributes to fostering socially literate citizens in a technology-advanced society capable of navigating situations where different perspectives and opinions exist.

Advisor: Beverly Woolf