The emergence of online collaboration platforms has dramatically changed the dynamics of human teamwork, creating a veritable army of virtual teams composed of workers in different physical locations. The global world requires a tremendous amount of collaborative problem solving, primarily virtual, making it an excellent domain for computer scientists and team cognition researchers who seek to understand the dynamics involved in collaborative tasks to provide a solution that can support effective collaboration. Mining and analyzing data from collaborative dialogues can yield insights into virtual teams' thought processes and help develop virtual agents to support collaboration. Good communication is indubitably the foundation of effective collaboration. Over time teams develop their own communication styles and often exhibit entrainment, a conversational phenomenon in which humans synchronize their linguistic choices. This dissertation presents several technical innovations in the usage of machine learning towards analyzing, monitoring, and predicting collaboration success from multiparty dialogue by successfully handling the problems of resource scarcity and natural distribution shifts. First, we examine the problem of predicting team performance from embeddings learned from multiparty dialogues such that teams with similar conflict scores lie close to one another in vector space. We extract the embeddings from three types of features: 1) dialogue acts 2) sentiment polarity 3) syntactic entrainment. Although all of these features can be used to predict team performance effectively, their utility varies by the teamwork phase. We separate the dialogues of players playing a cooperative game into stages: 1) early (knowledge building), 2) middle (problem-solving), and 3) late (culmination). Unlike syntactic entrainment, both dialogue act and sentiment embeddings effectively classify team performance, even during the initial phase. Second, we address the problem of learning generalizable models of collaboration. Machine learning models often suffer domain shifts; one advantage of encoding the semantic features is their adaptability across multiple domains. We evaluate the generalizability of different embeddings to other goal-oriented teamwork dialogues. Finally, in addition to identifying the features predictive of successful collaboration, we propose multi-feature embedding (MFeEmb) to improve the generalizability of collaborative task success prediction models under natural distribution shifts and resource scarcity. MFeEmb leverages the strengths of semantic, structural, and textual features of the dialogues by incorporating the most meaningful information from dialogue acts (DAs), sentiment polarities, and vocabulary of the dialogues. To further enhance the performance of MFeEmb under a resource-scarce scenario, we employ synthetic data generation and few-shot learning. We use the method proposed by Bailey and Chopra (2018) for few-shot learning from the FsText python library. We replaced the universal embedding with our proposed multi-feature embedding to compare the performance of the two. For data augmentation, we propose using synonym replacement from collaborative dialogue vocabulary instead of synonym replacement from WordNet. The research was conducted on several multiparty dialogue datasets, including ASIST, SwDA, Hate Speech, Diplomacy, Military, SAMSum, AMI, and GitHub. Results show that the proposed multi-feature embedding is an excellent choice for the meta-training stage of the few-shot learning, even if it learns from a small train set of size as small as 62 samples. Also, our proposed data augmentation method showed significant performance improvement. Our research has potential ramifications for the development of conversational agents that facilitate teaming as well as towards the creation of more effective social coding platforms to better support teamwork between software engineers.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Enayet, Ayesha, "Detecting Team Conflict From Multiparty Dialogue" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1832.