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Ten Social Dimensions of Conversations

Using AI to find the building blocks of our relationships

  • Power dynamics (e.g., between a boss and their employee) 👑
  • Status giving — conferring appreciation, gratitude, or admiration 🙏
  • Expressions of Trust 🤞
  • Giving emotional or practical Support 🤗
  • Romance 🌹
  • Similarity — shared interests, motivations or outlooks 👯‍♂️
  • Identity — Sense of belonging to a group or community 🏳️‍🌈
  • Fun 😂
  • Conflict ⚔️

Social Dimensions in Individual Messages — movie scripts 🎥

Scripted movie dialogs are fictional yet plausible representations of conversations that span a wide spectrum of human emotions and relationship types. We ran our models on all movie lines from the Cornell movie script corpus, and found out what are the dimensions conveyed by iconic movie lines.

“Only a fully trained Jedi Knight, with The Force as his ally, will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now, if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil “ — Ben Kenobi
“Frankie, you’re a good old man, and you’ve been loyal to my Father for years…so I hope you can explain what you mean” — Michael Corleone
“Look, Dave, I know that you’re sincere and that you’re trying to do a competent job, and that you’re trying to be helpful, but I can assure the problem is with the AO-units, and with your test gear” — HAL 9000
“But, as you are so fond of observing, Doctor, I’m not human” — Spock

Social Dimensions in Relationships — Twitter 🐦

The “Isle of Ties” is one of the games from Players mark their Twitter friends with 3 dimensions that best describe their relationships with them.

Social Dimensions of Communities — Enron corp. emails 📧

Enron Corporation was an American company founded in 1985 that went bankrupt in 2001, when its systematic practices of accounting fraud were exposed to the public. After the scandal and the resulting investigation, The Enron Email Dataset was released to the public. We looked at how expressions of different dimensions varied over time in Enron emails, on average.

How the presence of five social dimensions in Enron employees emails changes over time, compared to traditional sentiment analysis (performed with the Vader tool). Plots are marked with four significant events in Enron’s history: i) the beginning of concerns about the financial stability of the company; ii) the first round of layoffs; iii) the start of financial losses; iv) the declaration of bankruptcy.

Social Dimensions in Society — US States statistics 🦅

Last, we tested whether the presence of those dimensions in conversations is associated with real-world outcomes at societal level. We extracted the ten social dimensions from 160M Reddit messages posted by 1M users who we could geo-reference at the level of US States. We conducted a geographical analysis to study the relationship between the presence of the 10 dimensions and socio-economic outcomes, estimated by official statistics. In particular we checked the relationship between:

  • Exchange of knowledge and average income
  • Expression of social support and suicide rates
Expressions of social dimensions in online language correlate with relevant societal outcomes estimated by official statistics at the level of US States

What is this all for?

The ability of automatically extract fundamental dimensions of social exchange from text could contribute to creating research and analytics tools for social networks. We believe that the dynamics of a number of processes mediated by social networks could be re-interpreted with our application of the 10 dimensional model to conversation networks. For example, researchers could look at the phenomena of information diffusion, spreading of fake news, polarization, and link creation in the light of the ten social dimensions.

Want to learn more?

Check out the preprint or our data and code. Research conducted by @minje_choi at @umsi and @lajello, @varkrisz, and @danielequercia at @BellLabs. Please contact us for any questions!



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Luca Maria Aiello

Computational social science research @BellLabs Cambridge, UK. Formerly @YahooResearch and fellow of @ISI_fondazione in Torino, Italy.