Natural language processing researchers have proven the ability of machine learning approaches to detect depression-related cues from language; however, to date, these efforts have primarily assumed it was acceptable to leave depression-related texts in the data. Our concerns with this are twofold: first, that the models may be overfitting on depression-related signals, which may not be present in all depressed users (only those who talk about depression on social media); and second, that these models would under-perform for users who are sensitive to the public stigma of depression. This study demonstrates the validity to those concerns. We construct a novel corpus of texts from 12,106 Reddit users and perform lexical and predictive analyses under two conditions: one where all text produced by the users is included and one where the depression data is withheld. We find significant differences in the language used by depressed users under the two conditions as well as a difference in the ability of machine learning algorithms to correctly detect depression. However, despite the lexical differences and reduced classification performance–each of which suggests that users may be able to fool algorithms by avoiding direct discussion of depression–a still respectable overall performance suggests lexical models are reasonably robust and well suited for a role in a diagnostic or monitoring capacity.
Part of speech (POS) taggers and dependency parsers tend to work well on homogeneous datasets but their performance suffers on datasets containing data from different genres. In our current work, we investigate how to create POS tagging and dependency parsing experts for heterogeneous data by employing topic modeling. We create topic models (using Latent Dirichlet Allocation) to determine genres from a heterogeneous dataset and then train an expert for each of the genres. Our results show that the topic modeling experts reach substantial improvements when compared to the general versions. For dependency parsing, the improvement reaches 2 percent points over the full training baseline when we use two topics.
POS tagging and dependency parsing achieve good results for homogeneous datasets. However, these tasks are much more difficult on heterogeneous datasets. In (Mukherjee et al. 2016, 2017), we address this issue by creating genre experts for both POS tagging and parsing. We use topic modeling to automatically separate training and test data into genres and to create annotation experts per genre by training separate models for each topic. However, this approach assumes that topic modeling is performed jointly on training and test sentences each time a new test sentence is encountered. We extend this work by assigning new test sentences to their genre expert by using similarity metrics. We investigate three different types of methods: 1) based on words highly associated with a genre by the topic modeler, 2) using a k-nearest neighbor classification approach, and 3) using perplexity to determine the closest topic. The results show that the choice of similarity metric has an effect on results and that we can reach comparable accuracies to the joint topic modeling in POS tagging and dependency parsing, thus providing a viable and efficient approach to POS tagging and parsing a sentence by its genre expert.