Exploring the Role of Prior Beliefs for Argument Persuasion

Esin Durmus, Claire Cardie


Abstract
Public debate forums provide a common platform for exchanging opinions on a topic of interest. While recent studies in natural language processing (NLP) have provided empirical evidence that the language of the debaters and their patterns of interaction play a key role in changing the mind of a reader, research in psychology has shown that prior beliefs can affect our interpretation of an argument and could therefore constitute a competing alternative explanation for resistance to changing one’s stance. To study the actual effect of language use vs. prior beliefs on persuasion, we provide a new dataset and propose a controlled setting that takes into consideration two reader-level factors: political and religious ideology. We find that prior beliefs affected by these reader-level factors play a more important role than language use effects and argue that it is important to account for them in NLP studies of persuasion.
Anthology ID:
N18-1094
Volume:
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)
Month:
June
Year:
2018
Address:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Venue:
NAACL
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
1035–1045
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/N18-1094
DOI:
10.18653/v1/N18-1094
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Esin Durmus and Claire Cardie. 2018. Exploring the Role of Prior Beliefs for Argument Persuasion. In Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers), pages 1035–1045, New Orleans, Louisiana. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Exploring the Role of Prior Beliefs for Argument Persuasion (Durmus & Cardie, NAACL 2018)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/N18-1094.pdf
Video:
 http://vimeo.com/282323369