So the summer holiday is over, and I am finally back to the normal routine of teaching, publishing and proposal-ing.
To start the new term with something positive, we have recently got a paper accepted in ACM Transactions on Internet Technology. It is a side project I have been working on for the past two years and I am glad that it is finally accepted for publication!
Show Me You Care: Trait Empathy, Linguistic Style and Mimicry on Facebook
Linguistic mimicry, the adoption of another’s language patterns, is a subconscious behavior with pro-social benefits. However, some professions advocate its conscious use in empathic communication. This involves mutual mimicry; effective communicators mimic their interlocutors, who also mimic them back. Since mimicry has often been studied in face-to-face contexts, we ask whether individuals with empathic dispositions have unique communication styles and/or elicit mimicry in mediated communication on Facebook. Participants completed Davis’ Interpersonal Reactivity Index and provided access to Facebook activity. We confirm that dispositional empathy is correlated to the use of particular stylistic features. In addition, we identify four empathy profiles and find correlations to writing style. When a linguistic feature is used, this often “triggers” use by friends. However, the presence of particular features, rather than participant disposition, best predicts mimicry. This suggests that machine-human communications could be enhanced based on recently used features, without extensive user profiling.