Workshop: Conflict and Communication. Multimodal Social Signals of Conflict and Negotiation in Humans, Animals, and Machines

Thierry Hamon thierry.hamon at UNIV-PARIS13.FR
Sun May 19 08:44:35 UTC 2013

Date: Thu, 16 May 2013 18:43:15 +0200
From: Rosario Signorello <rosario.signorello at>
Message-ID: <CAGxnMbXcfyMYL_XQ6V5dTCf=Z-f5oEZ3ysfZ8rVYBc62jfgEMA at>

Universita’ Roma Tre

Aula Magna

Department of Philosophy, Communication, and Screen and Stage studies

Via Ostiense 234 - Roma

October 29 – 31, 2013

International Workshop

Conflict and communication.

Multimodal Social Signals of conflict and negotiation in humans,
animals, and machines

When in an environment resources are limited, and two or more humans or
other animals need the same resource, its attainment by one is
incompatible with the attainment by the other: thus conflict arises.

Conflict may simply hold between two or more beliefs (cognitive
conflict), or between goals of the same person or animal
(intraindividual conflict), or finally between the goals of two or more
individuals or groups (interpersonal and social conflict).  In all cases
conflict may cause internal turmoil or social aggression, and yet
sometimes may also be a carrier of positive novelty and change.

This workshop focuses on interpersonal and social conflict, and on the
communication that may arise from it, but also give rise to it, or
finally determine conflict escalation or resolution.

Since such a complex topic as conflict needs to be confronted by a high
level of multidisciplinarity, we encourage contributions from various
fields, among which:

Psychology, Ethology, Political Sciences, Neuroscience, Linguistics,
Argumentation, Social Simulation, Robotics, Social Signal processing,
Swarm intelligence….

Some core topics in the workshop, and their leading questions, are the

*Theoretical issues in conflict*

What is conflict, and what is the boundary between competition and

Are all cases of aggression determined by conflict, and does conflict
always lead to aggression? What are the mechanisms and triggering rules
of escalation and what are those of negotiation?

Sometimes conflicts are not explicit or evident, but rather deep,
underground, covert. What are the signals of overt and covert conflicts?

What are the routes of conflict? Is conflict primary (only stemming from
context, bare competition over resources) or sometimes secondary to
emotions (for instance might one start to raise conflict with another
only due to personality clash)?

What are the dynamics of conflict?

Some theories propose that social hierarchies and leadership arise right
with the function of minimizing conflicts. Is this (always) true? Are
there types of social organization or leadership more apt than others to
prevent conflict? What could / should be changed in an organization to
lower the number and level of conflicts?

Do the ways people and animals sense and manage conflict and its
escalation and resolution change across ontogenetic and phylogenetic
evolution, and if so, how do they?

Are there neurological bases to the capacity of sensing and managing
social conflict?

*Social signals and multimodality *

How is conflict expressed in communicative interaction between humans?
How do the various types of conflict differ from each other, for
example, discussion, argument, quarrel, contest? Do different rules
apply to them?

One of the main communicative forms triggered by conflict is
argumentation.  Can we distinguish more and less conflictual

What are the signals that reveal the existence of conflict, escalation,
de-escalation, negotiation, smoothing?

What are the signals of conflict between non-human animals? Are there
signals shared by human and non-human animals?

Conflictual communication may be studied in various modalities. In the
acoustic modalities, what are the characterizing features of voice or
noise in conflict? Can conflict be expressed by music? Are some types of
intonation more typically used during conflict? Are there speech acts or
other communicative acts typical of conflict, such as accusation,
criticism, insult? How is conflict expressed in the structure of
turn-taking and floor management? Are there cues of conflict in
intonation and voice quality?

In the visual modalities, what are the gestures, postures, gaze items
and facial expressions typically used in conflict? Can conflict be
expressed by art, graphics and other visual artifacts?

*Ethical issues, deception and non-cooperative communication in

Is there an ethics of conflict? Are there moral rules for negotiation or
reconciliation? Are there cases in which conflict cannot be avoided, or
negotiation should be skipped, due to ethical reasons? Does negotiation
often entail deception?

What are the effects of truthful and deceitful communication on
conflict?  Is deception exploited to avoid conflict or is it a major
cause of conflict? Sometimes sincere communication, by making the
conflict explicit, may contribute to exacerbate it, so people may try to
avoid sincerity or use hypocrisy or vagueness to prevent conflict; but
on the other hand, if one lets conflict emerge, might this contribute,
and in what cases and ways, to clarify positions, look for agreement,
and start negotiation?

What is the relation of conflict with truthful and deceitful
communication in animals? Generally animals tend to use deception more
to prevent conflict than to find a way out of it – see the function of
bluff and other deceitful displays – but is this always and necessary

*Emotions and conflict*

What emotions are generally a cause of conflict, and what are the most
typical effects of it? How are they expressed with or without a
conflictual interaction? How can trust, envy, admiration, pride,
compassion or other emotions prevent, trigger, enhance, smooth conflict?
How can their sincere or simulated expression work in conflict
management? What is the role of empathy and other affective states in
negotiation and reconciliation?

*Simulation, analysis and synthesis of conflict*

Is it possible to build systems for the automatic detection of conflict,
both bottom up – by detecting signals of conflict – and top-down – by
analyzing contexts and inferring their likeliness for conflict
generation?  Is it possible to construct a synthetic “negotiation
counselor”? How can automatic argumentative systems be adapted to
conflict prevention or resolution? How can the simulation of conflict in
robots and neural systems give hints for the prevention and managing of
conflict in humans?

The topics of the Workshop include, but are not limited to:

   - theoretical and computational models of conflict
   - conflict, negotiation, conflict resolution, reconciliation
   - multimodality
   - multimodal corpora
   - social signal processing
   - phonetics, prosody and intonation
   - gesture
   - discourse strategies
   - argumentation and persuasion
   - deception
   - conversational analysis
   - public speaking
   - political communication
   - persuasive dialogue systems
   - speech analysis and synthesis
   - gesture and action recognition
   - applications
   - Embodied Conversational Agents
   - Persuasive Technology

Program Committee:

Jens Allwood
Francesca Cantù
Marco Cristani
Anna Esposito
Ellen Giebels
Emile Hendricks
Dirk Heylen
Giovanna Leone
Giacomo Marramao
Elio Matassi
David Meghnagi
Enrico Menduni
Alessandro Neri
Magalie Ochs
Franca Orletti
Fabio Paglieri
Albert Ali Salah
Björn Schuller

The Workshop is open to all motivated scientists, of any nationality,
both on the Social Scientists and the Computer Scientists side. To
encourage young researchers’ participation, grants are available for up
to 8 Participants (maximum of 600 EUROS for accommodation, living and
travel expenses), upon selection of the best abstracts, of the
applicants’ potential contribution to the Workshop, and the benefits
that they may draw from the meeting for their future activities.


Authors are invited to submit an abstract of 400-600 words for
presentation at the Workshop.

After the Workshop a selection of the papers presented will be published
in a book of a Springer series.

Abstracts and Papers should be sent to the following addresses:

poggi at; fderrico at; laura.vincze at;


June 10st, 2013: Submission of abstracts (400 – 600 words)

July 10th, 2013: Notification of acceptance

October 29-31, 2013: Workshop

November 30th, 2013: Paper submission

January 20th, 2014: Notification of acceptance of papers

February 28th, 2014: Camera-ready paper

Scientific organization:

Isabella Poggi*, Francesca D’Errico*, Alessandro Vinciarelli**, Laura

*Università Roma Tre

**University of Glasgow


Isabella Poggi, poggi at

Francesca D’Errico, fderrico at

Alessandro Vinciarelli, Alessandro.Vinciarelli at

Laura Vincze, laura.vincze at

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