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Are You a Conversation Hog? New Research Can Help You Find Out.

Dr. Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at M.I.T., a pioneer in computational social science, has developed a system that will help you understand the tone and turn-taking behavior of your conversations. Dr. Pentland's system, called "Reality Mining," monitors conversations using a cell-phone like gadget, observes body movements using a badge with sensors, and analyzes the data with a software program.

The Reality Mining system is designed to help problem speakers and their victims better handle face-to-face and group interactions by studying the cadences, tones and movements behind their words. The system is being tested in select banks and universities, where participants in the trials wear the badges and carry the gadgets for weeks or even months on end. Words are not recorded, so you need not worry about trade secrets being leaked.

Are you a conversation hog? Are you the victim of a conversation hog? Said conversation hog will interrupt and chatter on with no regard for the group, not to mention wander off when you are speaking. The Reality Mining team at M.I.T. believes it has a "hog" management solution.

We have high hopes that Reality Mining will help us all better handle the subtleties of face-to-face and group interactions by acting as a kind of personal assistant or butler that will monitor the conversation game, letting us know whether we've become the life of the party or the most annoying chatterbox in the room. [From The New York Times]

Tags: MIT, research, studies