Ashwin Deshpande


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How You Say It Matters: Measuring the Impact of Verbal Disfluency Tags on Automated Dementia Detection
Shahla Farzana | Ashwin Deshpande | Natalie Parde
Proceedings of the 21st Workshop on Biomedical Language Processing

Automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems usually incorporate postprocessing mechanisms to remove disfluencies, facilitating the generation of clear, fluent transcripts that are conducive to many downstream NLP tasks. However, verbal disfluencies have proved to be predictive of dementia status, although little is known about how various types of verbal disfluencies, nor automatically detected disfluencies, affect predictive performance. We experiment with an off-the-shelf disfluency annotator to tag disfluencies in speech transcripts for a well-known cognitive health assessment task. We evaluate the performance of this model on detecting repetitions and corrections or retracing, and measure the influence of gold annotated versus automatically detected verbal disfluencies on dementia detection through a series of experiments. We find that removing both gold and automatically-detected disfluencies negatively impacts dementia detection performance, degrading classification accuracy by 5.6% and 3% respectively