DMI Webinar: "Language, perception, and reality in online communication"

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Zoom Meeting

“Language, perception, and reality in online communication”


26 October 2020, 16:00-17:00 CEST





Public entities, such as firms, politicians, and celebrities, strategically present themselves online in order to affect the perceptions of their audience. For example, firms may signal to consumers their environmental friendliness, and politicians may signal to voters their commitment to a policy position. Sometimes these communications are authentic, representing the true intentions and beliefs of the entity, but other times they may be misleading, as in “greenwashing,” a deceptive marketing practice in which firms present themselves as more environmentally friendly than they truly are. In this talk, I'll summarize our work in this area using natural language processing and social network analysis to investigate questions such as: (1) can we measure an entity's commitment to a cause from its online language? (2) can we measure the perception of an entity based on its position in a social network? (3) can we measure the effect that word choice has on audience perception? I will conclude with an overview of future work to advance progress in this area.



Aron Culotta is an associate professor of computer science at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he leads the Text Analysis in the Public Interest lab. His research focuses on extracting socially valuable insights from online social networks. He is a former Microsoft Live Labs Fellow with a PhD in computer science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His work has received awards at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) conference and the Conference on Computer-Supported Social Work and Social Computing (CSCW) and is funded by the National Science Foundation.


The talks will be held online. For more information, write to

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Language, perception, and reality in online communication