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Ed Psych professor Dorothy Espelage leads research for social sensing game that detects classroom bullies

by Sharita Forrest / Nov 4, 2014

Professor Dorothy Espelage of the Department of Educational Psychology has led the research for a social sensing game that detects classroom bullies and helps scholars better understand peer aggression, whether it occurs in person or online.

The research was conducted as part of a larger, longitudinal study on bullying led by Espelage and funded by the National Science Foundation.

The game, which was designed by researchers in computer science at Illinois, allows researchers to study natural interactions between children, collect large amounts of data about those interactions, and test theories about youth aggression and victimization.

“Bullies played the game very differently than their classmates who were non-bullies or victims,” said Espelage. “Bullies sent more private messages, peeked at the correct answer more often, and sent more negative nominations.”

The game revealed bullying behavior that had eluded detection by traditional research methods, according to Juan F. Mancilla-Caceres, an applied researcher with Microsoft Corp.

Read the entire article by Sharita Forrest of the Illinois News Bureau.