Perspective-taking and Pragmatics for Generating Empathetic Responses Focused on Emotion Causes

Hyunwoo Kim, Byeongchang Kim, Gunhee Kim


Abstract
Empathy is a complex cognitive ability based on the reasoning of others’ affective states. In order to better understand others and express stronger empathy in dialogues, we argue that two issues must be tackled at the same time: (i) identifying which word is the cause for the other’s emotion from his or her utterance and (ii) reflecting those specific words in the response generation. However, previous approaches for recognizing emotion cause words in text require sub-utterance level annotations, which can be demanding. Taking inspiration from social cognition, we leverage a generative estimator to infer emotion cause words from utterances with no word-level label. Also, we introduce a novel method based on pragmatics to make dialogue models focus on targeted words in the input during generation. Our method is applicable to any dialogue models with no additional training on the fly. We show our approach improves multiple best-performing dialogue agents on generating more focused empathetic responses in terms of both automatic and human evaluation.
Anthology ID:
2021.emnlp-main.170
Volume:
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing
Month:
November
Year:
2021
Address:
Online and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Venue:
EMNLP
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
2227–2240
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.emnlp-main.170
DOI:
10.18653/v1/2021.emnlp-main.170
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Hyunwoo Kim, Byeongchang Kim, and Gunhee Kim. 2021. Perspective-taking and Pragmatics for Generating Empathetic Responses Focused on Emotion Causes. In Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, pages 2227–2240, Online and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Perspective-taking and Pragmatics for Generating Empathetic Responses Focused on Emotion Causes (Kim et al., EMNLP 2021)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.emnlp-main.170.pdf
Video:
 https://aclanthology.org/2021.emnlp-main.170.mp4
Code
 skywalker023/focused-empathy
Data
EmoCauseEmpatheticDialoguesRECCON