Modeling Cultural Factors in Collaboration and Negotiation - The Robotics Institute Carnegie Mellon University
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Modeling Cultural Factors in Collaboration and Negotiation
Contact: Katia Sycara

The overall goal of this multidisciplinary research is to develop validated theories and techniques for descriptive and predictive models of dynamic collaboration and negotiation that consider cultural and social factors. The domains are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Morocco. The research activities are broken down into the following tasks:


  • Task 1: Design, use and testing of cultural investigation instruments for the construction of mental models/schemas that include cultural factors in the cultures of interest. This includes:
    • extracting focus information from SMEs and analysts
    • design of questionnaires for surveys
    • design of questions for interviews
    • use of techniques such as triangulation for questioning
    • use of anthropological techniques of participant observations that not only provide insights for analysis but also insights into constructing new survey questions that probe deeper on selected topics
    • design of experiments that involve interactive cooperation and negotiation
    • development of the process simulation software including multi-player cross-cultural games in-country or over the Internet, so that process trace data would be logged and collected


  • Task 2: Data collection in the cultures of interest. This includes:
    • conducting pilot studies for method verification
    • conducting the semi-structured interviews and surveys with the different subject populations in the countries of interest that most notably include militants and controls (that is, persons belonging to the same social networks and demographic groups as militants but who renounce violence); we have identified several such networks and are currently working with the respective government authorities (Turkey, Morocco) to provide cooperation and personnel
    • conducting experiments that involve within-culture and cross-cultural collaboration and negotiation using the developed process simulations
    • enriching these sources with additional information from the literature, observations of videotapes, information from SMEs.


  • Task 3: Culturally Sensitive Analysis and Theoretical Model Formulation (culturally sensitive and process adaptive schemas). This includes:
    • application of techniques (e.g. Multivariate Analysis of Variance, Structural Equations, cultural Consensus Modeling) to evaluate statistical reliability of response across subjects from different sample populations, and for evaluating the relationship between mental models and actual behavior
    • development of new models and metrics that enable further analysis
    • use of these models and metrics to determine the cultural factors that influence collaboration and negotiation in the cultures of interest
    • use of the analysis to determine how the culturally sensitive mental constructs adapt during the interaction
    • creation of a theory of the influence of cultural factors in collaboration and negotiation intra-culturally and inter-culturally, including models of interventions, and modeling how the influence of these factors may change with changes of the situation
    • test and validation of the theory on additional scenarios of interest
    • SME feedback on the analysis and models


  • Task 4: Computational Model Formulation. This includes:
    • extending the theory of games to take into consideration socio-cultural factors, such as Sacred Values and players embedded in complex social networks
    • developing new game theoretic algorithms that enrich current models with communication, argumentation and learning processes
    • developing evaluation metrics
    • developing an integrated computational model of dynamic collaboration and negotiation with appropriate parameterizations
    • developing techniques for systematically deriving model parameters from the analysis of the data collection results
    • testing and validating the model in scenarios of interest against the predictions of the theoretical cultural model and performing mutual revisions and alignments. As part of this activity SMEs and cultural scientists will provide feedback and guidance for model construction and possible adaptations


  • Task 5: Training Simulation and Virtual Humans. This includes:
    • insertion of developed culturally sensitive computational algorithms into the virtual human models for training
    • development of training scenarios
    • evaluation of training effects in the scenarios. SMEs and cultural scientists will provide guidance and feedback


  • Task 6: Education and Outreach. This involves:
    • inclusion of research results in courses taught by members of the research team in their home institutions
    • possible development of new course modules
    • organization of workshops, reporting of research results in scientific journals and conferences, presentations to government stakeholders, tool demonstrations


  • Task 7: Management and Team Coordination.
    • This involves management of the research team and coordination, team meetings, constricting and maintaining the project web-page, reporting results, planning tasks and research direction, results and tools validation and integration


  • Task 8: Transition Opportunities. This task involves:
    • identification of end users
    • providing information, models and tools to end users

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