Machine-learned models for author profiling in social media often rely on data acquired via self-reporting-based psychometric tests (questionnaires) filled out by social media users. This is an expensive but accurate data collection strategy. Another, less costly alternative, which leads to potentially more noisy and biased data, is to rely on labels inferred from publicly available information in the profiles of the users, for instance self-reported diagnoses or test results. In this paper, we explore a third strategy, namely to directly use a corpus of items from validated psychometric tests as training data. Items from psychometric tests often consist of sentences from an I-perspective (e.g., ‘I make friends easily.’). Such corpora of test items constitute ‘small data’, but their availability for many concepts is a rich resource. We investigate this approach for personality profiling, and evaluate BERT classifiers fine-tuned on such psychometric test items for the big five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism) and analyze various augmentation strategies regarding their potential to address the challenges coming with such a small corpus. Our evaluation on a publicly available Twitter corpus shows a comparable performance to in-domain training for 4/5 personality traits with T5-based data augmentation.
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.