The language of lying

A wooden Pinocchio puppet, long nose pointing to the right.

If rhetoric is the art of persuasion, one might see lying as one of the most sophisticated – though not noble – rhetorical activities. Lying is, after all, persuading someone to believe in something that the speaker knows not to be true. How do we do that?

A visit to uncanny valley

This image shows a humanoid robot called Repliee Q2.

In a post last semester, we used a digital archive to create new objects by designing a little tweeting machine. This technique – using an archive to create an “intelligent” machine – is not only useful for such coding exercises or publicity stunts like the Next Rembrandt. These computational methods are also at the heart of one of Silicon Valley’s trendiest technologies: the interactive “chat bot”. Everyone does bots – short for “robots” – now: at its most recent developer conference, Facebook …

When Democrats debate: Analyzing Clinton versus Sanders

Bernie Sanders, here speaking at a town meeting in Phoenix and pointing to the left of the camera. Image credit: Gage Skidmore, Distributed under a creative commons share-alike license:

Here, we present a computational analysis of language use in the Democratic debate, looking at each candidate’s rhetorical style. Turns out that Bernie Sanders asks a lot of questions and Hillary Clinton just loves the word support.

Cool Tools: Online Mind Mapping

Mind maps are a useful tool for students to organize their thoughts, papers, or both. There is a wide variety of mind mapping software now, among them Novamind  and Vue that are installed on our lab computers. (We also have several lesson plans that involve mind maps).

Talking Republican: Analyzing the GOP debate

Donald Trump, business man and politician, pointing at the camera while debating in Washington in 2011.

Here, we present a computational analysis of language use in the Republican debate, looking at each candidate’s rhetorical style. Donald Trump, it turns out, is a man of many, but short words; John Kasich loves asking questions; and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz rely a lot on emotionally charged language.