Investigation of experimental methods for clarifying the mechanism of consensus building
Authors: Mizuki Yamawaki, Yoshiki Sakamoto, Rieko Yamamoto, Kimi Ueda, Hirotake Ishii, Hiroshi Shimoda, Kyoko Ito
Abstract: From risk communication for solving social issues such as global warming and nuclear power problems to everyday situations such as deciding where to go out to eat among friends, we are engaged in consensus building on a daily basis. In consensus building, conflicts may occur due to the clash of opinions, sensibility communication is important for such problems. By examining the influence of emotional aspect in consensus building, suggestions on how to achieve amicable consensus building may be obtained. However, methods for observing and analyzing consensus building with high temporal resolution from the viewpoint of emotional aspect have not been established. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the appropriate experimental method for clarifying the consensus formation mechanism. Specifically, through preliminary experiments, we examined: whether the method of measuring emotional aspect is appropriate, and what kind of themes are appropriate for consensus building . With regard to the theme, since it is important to deal with conflicts in actual consensus building, it was especially important that the theme be such that conflicts would occur. Six graduate students participated in the experiment, working in pairs to conduct the experiment in three groups. Consensus building was done twice for each pair. Four consensus-building themes were prepared: (A) Planning to entertain friends from overseas, (B) Devising a way to convince people who distrust science, (C) Devising a motto to promote tourism in Kyoto and (D) Guessing the favorite flower from a woman's profile. These themes were randomly applied to each consensus building. To facilitate later analysis of the content of the dialogue, the text chat tool was used for the consensus-building dialogue. The items to be measured were: satisfaction with the entire discussion up to that point, satisfaction with the other person's statement, and compromise with one's own statement and so on. During the dialogue, the modal for measurement appeared on the screen at regular intervals, and the dialogue could be resumed by responding to it. After the consensus-building was completed, the participants were asked to answer a questionnaire about their impressions of the experiment. Not much conflict was observed in themes (A), (B) and (D). Representative opinions about those themes are as follows: (A) "There was a lot to think about, and I couldn't fully express what I wanted to say", (B) "Too difficult”, and (D) "It was difficult to have my own opinion, so I did not have to give a counterargument". The most conflicts were observed in (C). This may be due to the appropriate level of difficulty and the fact that it was a theme where it was easy to have one's own opinion. In other words, the above factors are considered to be important for the task of observing consensus building. However, some participants mentioned that their thinking was interrupted by the appearance of the modal in the middle of the chat. Therefore, the future task is to devise and implement a measurement method that is less likely to interfere with consensus building.
Keywords: Consensus Building, Communication, Subject Experiment
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