Samira Shaikh

Assistant professor of cognitive science, department of computer science and department of psychology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Modeling Persuasion and Group Behavior in Big Data

Online social media platforms provide millions of individuals with a means of expressing their views about a plethora of subjects of import to their lives. This massive communicative effort occurring in the online realm has been shown to impact the offline, real world in measurable ways. Such real-world consequences call for the need to understand how real-world behaviors correspond to behaviors by people in online platforms and how these can be understood and detected by automated methods. This project investigates the propagation of ideas in the online world and their effect in persuading groups of individuals to take action in the real world. The core of proposed work relies on the study of language, and exploits reliable research practices in psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics to investigate human behavior in online platforms, specifically persuasive behavior. The project will deliver an integrated model of persuasion and group behavior in online communication associated with rapid and broad information diffusion and influence on digital media.


Samira Shaikh (PhD) is Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science in the Department of Computer Science and faculty member of the Data Science Initiative at UNC Charlotte. Dr. Shaikh’s research expertise is in Computational Sociolinguistics, Data Science, Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence. Her work focuses on computational modeling of human behavior in big data, with strong theoretical underpinnings from social science – including those from psychology, communication and anthropology. Previously, Dr. Shaikh was a lead research scientist for the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, where she worked on several large-scale research projects funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. Dr. Shaikh received her PhD in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Albany.