Garrick Sherman


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Measuring the Language of Self-Disclosure across Corpora
Ann-Katrin Reuel | Sebastian Peralta | João Sedoc | Garrick Sherman | Lyle Ungar
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Being able to reliably estimate self-disclosure – a key component of friendship and intimacy – from language is important for many psychology studies. We build single-task models on five self-disclosure corpora, but find that these models generalize poorly; the within-domain accuracy of predicted message-level self-disclosure of the best-performing model (mean Pearson’s r=0.69) is much higher than the respective across data set accuracy (mean Pearson’s r=0.32), due to both variations in the corpora (e.g., medical vs. general topics) and labeling instructions (target variables: self-disclosure, emotional disclosure, intimacy). However, some lexical features, such as expression of negative emotions and use of first person personal pronouns such as ‘I’ reliably predict self-disclosure across corpora. We develop a multi-task model that yields better results, with an average Pearson’s r of 0.37 for out-of-corpora prediction.


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Explaining the Trump Gap in Social Distancing Using COVID Discourse
Austin Van Loon | Sheridan Stewart | Brandon Waldon | Shrinidhi K Lakshmikanth | Ishan Shah | Sharath Chandra Guntuku | Garrick Sherman | James Zou | Johannes Eichstaedt
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for COVID-19 (Part 2) at EMNLP 2020

Our ability to limit the future spread of COVID-19 will in part depend on our understanding of the psychological and sociological processes that lead people to follow or reject coronavirus health behaviors. We argue that the virus has taken on heterogeneous meanings in communities across the United States and that these disparate meanings shaped communities’ response to the virus during the early, vital stages of the outbreak in the U.S. Using word embeddings, we demonstrate that counties where residents socially distanced less on average (as measured by residential mobility) more semantically associated the virus in their COVID discourse with concepts of fraud, the political left, and more benign illnesses like the flu. We also show that the different meanings the virus took on in different communities explains a substantial fraction of what we call the “”Trump Gap”, or the empirical tendency for more Trump-supporting counties to socially distance less. This work demonstrates that community-level processes of meaning-making in part determined behavioral responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and that these processes can be measured unobtrusively using Twitter.