Affective and Social Signals in Mediation

The central question that we address in our research is the following: how can the usage of affective and social signal processing increase the effectiveness of mediation?

In today's globalized world, information and goods are exchanged more and more easily. At the same time, cultures and perspectives are often significantly distant and thus opportunities for conflicts between companies, individuals, or groups abound. Resolving conflicts quickly and efficiently in order to minimize their social and economic burden is thus a critical and global issue. However, to date no evidence-based guidelines for conflict resolution exist. In the proposed project, we aim to address five issues related to conflict resolution:

  1. the impact of a mediator;
  2. the role that emotions and social signals play in conflict resolution;
  3. the effect of videoconferencing on mediation;
  4. the development of a mechanism to detect early conflict signals (the “Affective Dashboard”);
  5. the influence of culture on conflict dynamics.

To address these five issues, our project proposes to conduct a set of 4 experiments on face-to-face conflict resolution and on conflict resolution during videoconferencing. We plan to assess the influence and effectiveness of mediation and we plan to demonstrate how knowing about the emotional and social states of conflict parties can help to predict the evolution of a conflict. We also aim at assessing the influence of cultures on those parameters. Importantly, we aim to investigate how those signals can be used to guide more efficient interventions from the mediator. 

In order to test the hypotheses listed above, we will use four different phases of experimentation described in the flow-chart below in more details. To contact us, please click here.