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What Men Say, What Women Hear: Using Semantics To Make Better Sense of Gender Differences in Social Media

Rada Mihalcea ( University of Michigan )
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus - or so the genre of relationship literature would have us believe. But there is some truth in this idea, and researchers in fields as diverse as psychology, sociology, and linguistics have explored ways to better understand the differences between genders. In this talk, I will take another look at the problem of gender discrimination and attempt to move beyond the typical surface-level text classification approach. The talk will be structured in three parts. First, I will describe a method to identify semantic and psycholinguistic word classes that reflect systematic differences between men and women. Second, I will show how methods traditionally used for semantic analysis can be used to find differences between genders in the ways they use the same words. Finally, time permitting, I will show how text mining can be leveraged to learn about gender preferences in science fields.

Speaker bio

Rada Mihalcea (an Oxford alumna!) is a Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of Michigan. Her research interests are in computational linguistics, with a focus on lexical semantics, graph-based algorithms for natural language processing, and multilingual natural language processing. She serves or has served on the editorial boards of the Journals of Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluations, Natural Language Engineering, Research in Language in Computation, IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, and Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics. She was a program co-chair for the Conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2011) and the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (2009), and she currently serves as general chair for the Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2015). She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award (2008) and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2009). In 2013, she was made an honorary citizen of her hometown of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

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