King's College Chapel

April 25, 2012
Aberdeen, Scotland

Symposium: Influencing People
with Information

Kees van Deemter
Computing Science department
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen AB24 3UE, UK

Matthew Collinson
Computing Science department
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen AB24 3UE, UK

Judith Masthoff
Computing Science department
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen AB24 3UE, UK

Key Dates

Submissions: March 28
Notification: April 4
Final Copies Due: April 11
Symposium date: April 25

How can a web site help you decide how you want to travel to a given destination? Can a computer explain your patient record to you? Does instant feedback on petrol use change how people drive? -- This informal symposium will ask how information can influence people, and how the manner in which the information is presented can make a difference. It will bring together researchers working on natural language generation, information presentation, behaviour change, argumentation and decision support.

For the last 5 years, researchers at the University of Aberdeen have investigated how information expressed in natural language can affect a recipient in terms of his/her knowledge, actions and emotions. Now, a Symposium funded by the EPSRC and the Scottish Computer Science and Informatics Alliance (SICSA) will widen the focus from language, addressing a range of research questions about the ways in which information, and the presentation of information, can influence people. The aim of the symposium is to hear a range of views on this topic, including both established and young (e.g., PhD student) researchers and to explore ideas for future research and funding in this area. The symposium will cover empirical as well as computational work.

The symposium will include:

  1. Invited presentations by:
  2. Accepted posters + brief presentations. (See below for details.)
  3. Panel-led discussion. Invited panelists have been asked to outline their favourite "Man on the Moon" project (i.e., a bold vision of what they believe research in this area should be aiming for).
  4. Dinner. (Free for all those who presented work during the Symposium.)


500-1000-word extended abstracts on the topic of the symposium should be submitted using EasyChair via this address . The deadline for submission (see Key Dates) is strict; extensions will not be possible. Abstracts need to be in PDF format (there are no further restrictions on format/layout). To stimulate discussion, we encourage the submission of work in progress, therefore submissions will be reviewed with a light touch. Authors of accepted extended abstracts will be asked to bring A1 posters to the symposium, and to give a 5-10 minutes' ("elevator pitch") presentation to the audience of the Symposium relating to the content of the poster. Since the purpose of the symposium is exploratory, we do not plan to publish written proceedings, but abstracts of accepted presentations will be put on the web.


People who do not present at the Symposium are welcome to participate; there will be no conference fee.

Schedule (updated 24 April; subject to possible changes):

Symposium Venue

Presentations: in Room KCG8 of King's College in Old Aberdeen. KCG8 is right next to the main entrance to King's College, on your right hand side (when walking in).

Posters, coffees, teas: in Cafe Zeste

Lunch: in the Hub.

Dinner Venue

Christos Greek Taverna , 14/20 John Street, Aberdeen.

Programme Committee

Ben du Boulay (University of Sussex)
Sandie Cleland (University of Aberdeen)
Floriana Grasso (University of Liverpool)
Jaap Ham (Eindhoven University of Technology)
Emiel Krahmer (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)
Chris Mellish (University of Aberdeen)
Himanshu Mishra (University of Utah, USA)
Jon Oberlander (University of Edinburgh)
Ehud Reiter (University of Aberdeen)
Donia Scott (University of Sussex)
Advaith Siddharthan (University of Aberdeen)