Dissertation: A Framework of Distributed Affect in Text Based Communication

Distributed collaborative teams increasingly rely on online tools for interaction and communication for both social and task-oriented goals. I am expanding recent work linking emotion and affect to collaboration and creativity in order to model how this collaborative communication takes place by examining real-world examples, specifically from the chat logs of an international astrophysics collaboration. Through qualitative analysis of the text-based communications created by these online collaborative projects, I aim to understand how team members express affect and emotion in this medium and the impact that these expressions have on group dynamics, creativity, and problem solving.

Current work in this area is focused on creating a theoretical framework of distributed affect and describing its operation through the use of five features: transference, resonance, pervasiveness, persistence, and representation. This framework will have a significant impact on the study of computer-supported group work, the design of interfaces for collaborative software, and potentially for the study of sociotechnical systems in general.