Jan Hofmann


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Emotion-Aware, Emotion-Agnostic, or Automatic: Corpus Creation Strategies to Obtain Cognitive Event Appraisal Annotations
Jan Hofmann | Enrica Troiano | Roman Klinger
Proceedings of the Eleventh Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment and Social Media Analysis

Appraisal theories explain how the cognitive evaluation of an event leads to a particular emotion. In contrast to theories of basic emotions or affect (valence/arousal), this theory has not received a lot of attention in natural language processing. Yet, in psychology it has been proven powerful: Smith and Ellsworth (1985) showed that the appraisal dimensions attention, certainty, anticipated effort, pleasantness, responsibility/control and situational control discriminate between (at least) 15 emotion classes. We study different annotation strategies for these dimensions, based on the event-focused enISEAR corpus (Troiano et al., 2019). We analyze two manual annotation settings: (1) showing the text to annotate while masking the experienced emotion label; (2) revealing the emotion associated with the text. Setting 2 enables the annotators to develop a more realistic intuition of the described event, while Setting 1 is a more standard annotation procedure, purely relying on text. We evaluate these strategies in two ways: by measuring inter-annotator agreement and by fine- tuning RoBERTa to predict appraisal variables. Our results show that knowledge of the emotion increases annotators’ reliability. Further, we evaluate a purely automatic rule-based labeling strategy (inferring appraisal from annotated emotion classes). Training on automatically assigned labels leads to a competitive performance of our classifier, even when tested on manual annotations. This is an indicator that it might be possible to automatically create appraisal corpora for every domain for which emotion corpora already exist.


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Appraisal Theories for Emotion Classification in Text
Jan Hofmann | Enrica Troiano | Kai Sassenberg | Roman Klinger
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Automatic emotion categorization has been predominantly formulated as text classification in which textual units are assigned to an emotion from a predefined inventory, for instance following the fundamental emotion classes proposed by Paul Ekman (fear, joy, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise) or Robert Plutchik (adding trust, anticipation). This approach ignores existing psychological theories to some degree, which provide explanations regarding the perception of events. For instance, the description that somebody discovers a snake is associated with fear, based on the appraisal as being an unpleasant and non-controllable situation. This emotion reconstruction is even possible without having access to explicit reports of a subjective feeling (for instance expressing this with the words “I am afraid.”). Automatic classification approaches therefore need to learn properties of events as latent variables (for instance that the uncertainty and the mental or physical effort associated with the encounter of a snake leads to fear). With this paper, we propose to make such interpretations of events explicit, following theories of cognitive appraisal of events, and show their potential for emotion classification when being encoded in classification models. Our results show that high quality appraisal dimension assignments in event descriptions lead to an improvement in the classification of discrete emotion categories. We make our corpus of appraisal-annotated emotion-associated event descriptions publicly available.