Fostering Empathy in Human Communications through Analysis of Microaggressions: Towards Smart Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training

October 21, 2021
3:00-4:00pm ET
Halligan 102, Zoom
Speaker: Gloria Washington, Howard University
Host: Elaine Short


Interdisciplinary research has begun to study how technology can assist humans with improving their communications and reducing racist, sexist, and/or hate speech. Many of these technologies are built using textual examples taken from social media statuses and updates. Models are rarely built containing multimodal examples that may provide more context into abusive speech. This talk explores the creation of a multimodal dataset of microaggressions built from listening and annotating speech from popular American television shows, and also from mining text from websites containing microaggressions. American television shows were chosen because they are readily available online and provide context that often mimics natural human conversations. The dataset, called ABL-MICRO, contains over 3000 text and sound instances of racist, homophobic and sexist remarks, mostly geared towards people of color and women. Finally, in this talk a discussion is provided over opportunities for researchers to begin to analyze affective content from this dataset, as well as future explorations for analysis of microaggressions.


Gloria Washington is an Assistant Professor at Howard University in Computer Science. At Howard, she runs the Affective Biometrics Lab and performs research on affective computing, computer science education, and biometrics. Currently, she is leading research that explores the role of affect/emotion and imposter syndrome on performance in computer science courses. Additionally, she is exploring the link between technology, mental health, and Black women’s hair texture. Finally, she also works closely with clinicians within the Howard University Hospital to develop technologies for improving the lives of children and teenagers with Sickle Cell Disease through creation of tools for keeping track of their pain and encouraging them in moments of depression. The ABL is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, Northrop Grumman, Dell, and Microsoft. Before coming to Howard, she was an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Computing Science at Clemson University. She performed research on identifying individuals based solely from pictures of their ears. Dr. Washington has more than fifteen years in Government service and has presented on her research throughout industry. Ms. Washington holds M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from The George Washington University, and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Lincoln University of Missouri.

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Meeting ID: 971 8312 0811

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