Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Language Reflects Us: Modeling the Relationship between Language and Humans
by Lynn, Veronica E., Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2019, 92; 27671887
Abstract (Summary)

What we say reflects who we are. Natural language processing allows us to explore and exploit this strong relationship between language and the humans who produce it, with applications both within the field and across many social science disciplines. Understanding who we are, such as our personality or well-being, requires models that are both accurate and interpretable, particularly for an interdisciplinary audience. Understanding language based on who we are requires both a suitable author representation and a model that is capable of leveraging it.

In this work, we seek to answer the following research questions: (1) how important is the relationship between humans and language for improving NLP tasks and methods, (2) how can we use language to better model human attributes, and (3) how can we create NLP models that can leverage knowledge of the author? We present a neural model for personality prediction that uses message-level attention to identify meaningful messages, leading to more interpretable results. We also introduce user-factor adaptation, a technique for creating human-aware models that outperform human-agnostic ones. This work is a step towards more “human-centered” NLP, advocating for modeling that is more accurate, more interpretable, and more personal.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Balasubramanian, Niranjan, Schwartz, Hansen A
Commitee: Skiena, Steven, Samaras, Dimitris, Hovy, Dirk
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
Department: Computer Science
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 81/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Computer science
Keywords: Language modeling, Natural language processing, User factors
Publication Number: 27671887
ISBN: 9781658471046
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