Brain power

Can betrayal be foretold?

As reported in Science News, betrayal is an aspect of human relationships that is difficult to study because research after the fact can only reveal so much. However, researchers have been able to use a betrayal-filled online strategy game as a proxy for real life. Their study revealed that there are linguistic cues that can foretell betrayal:

We reveal that subtle signs of imminent betrayal are encoded in the conversational patterns of the dyad, even if the victim is not aware of the relationship’s fate. In particular, we find that lasting friendships exhibit a form of balance that manifests itself through language. In contrast, sudden changes in the balance of certain conversational attributes—such as positive sentiment, politeness, or focus on future planning—signal impending betrayal1.
  1. NICULAE, V., KUMAR, S., BOYD-GRABER, J. & DANESCU-NICULESCU-MIZIL, C. 2015. Linguistic Harbingers of Betrayal: A Case Study on an Online Strategy Game. 53rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 7th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (ACL-IJCNLP 2015). Beijing.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes (www.bruceboyes.info) is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (www.realkm.com) and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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