Speaker Interaction

Another important aspect when analyzing a debate is the interaction between speakers. To capture that, we introduce the concept of a Topic-Space in our paper. This Conversation-Topic-Visualization (or short ConToVi) reconstructs the conversation-floor by mapping the topics of a debate to the outside of a circular chart, called Topic-Space View. We use this to model the speaker movement within a conversation with respect to the topics of their utterances. The animated figure below shows the interaction between the three speakers. Trump is shown in red, Clinton in blue, and the moderator in purple. We can clearly detect the moderation topic at 8 o'clock. We can also spot topics that are dominated by Trump, like "his tax audit"or "NAFTA". And topics that are dominated by Clinton, like "defeating ISIS" or "recession responsibility". Another interesting finding is that Trump has many large utterances, whereas Clinton has many very small utterances and only a few large ones. This indicates that he used all his designated time for each question talking without interference, while she was interrupted quite often.

Topic-Space Views

Topic-Space Views are based on the result of automatic topic modeling. These animated visualizations are constructed by using the topics of a conversation to span a circular space in which each utterance can be placed according to its membership degree to each topic, using a force-directed layout. By interpolating between the position of consecutive utterances of one speaker, we can reconstruct their paths within the Topic-Space. These paths are used in the animated view to show the movement and interactions of speakers. In addition, we can plot the complete path of every speaker individually to show how much space s/he has covered during the complete debate. As shown in the figure below, Trump has been contributing to all topics, whereas the moderator was very restricted to a passive moderation style. Clinton has covered some of the conversation-floor but was more restraint than Trump, as her path is not as dominant or active as his.