Matthew Matero


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WWBP-SQT-lite: Multi-level Models and Difference Embeddings for Moments of Change Identification in Mental Health Forums
Adithya V Ganesan | Vasudha Varadarajan | Juhi Mittal | Shashanka Subrahmanya | Matthew Matero | Nikita Soni | Sharath Chandra Guntuku | Johannes Eichstaedt | H. Andrew Schwartz
Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology

Psychological states unfold dynamically; to understand and measure mental health at scale we need to detect and measure these changes from sequences of online posts. We evaluate two approaches to capturing psychological changes in text: the first relies on computing the difference between the embedding of a message with the one that precedes it, the second relies on a “human-aware” multi-level recurrent transformer (HaRT). The mood changes of timeline posts of users were annotated into three classes, ‘ordinary,’ ‘switching’ (positive to negative or vice versa) and ‘escalations’ (increasing in intensity). For classifying these mood changes, the difference-between-embeddings technique – applied to RoBERTa embeddings – showed the highest overall F1 score (0.61) across the three different classes on the test set. The technique particularly outperformed the HaRT transformer (and other baselines) in the detection of switches (F1 = .33) and escalations (F1 = .61).Consistent with the literature, the language use patterns associated with mental-health related constructs in prior work (including depression, stress, anger and anxiety) predicted both mood switches and escalations.

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Human Language Modeling
Nikita Soni | Matthew Matero | Niranjan Balasubramanian | H. Andrew Schwartz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Natural language is generated by people, yet traditional language modeling views words or documents as if generated independently. Here, we propose human language modeling (HuLM), a hierarchical extension to the language modeling problem where by a human- level exists to connect sequences of documents (e.g. social media messages) and capture the notion that human language is moderated by changing human states. We introduce, HaRT, a large-scale transformer model for solving HuLM, pre-trained on approximately 100,000 social media users, and demonstrate it’s effectiveness in terms of both language modeling (perplexity) for social media and fine-tuning for 4 downstream tasks spanning document- and user-levels. Results on all tasks meet or surpass the current state-of-the-art.

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Evaluating Contextual Embeddings and their Extraction Layers for Depression Assessment
Matthew Matero | Albert Hung | H. Andrew Schwartz
Proceedings of the 12th Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment & Social Media Analysis

Many recent works in natural language processing have demonstrated ability to assess aspects of mental health from personal discourse. At the same time, pre-trained contextual word embedding models have grown to dominate much of NLP but little is known empirically on how to best apply them for mental health assessment. Using degree of depression as a case study, we do an empirical analysis on which off-the-shelf language model, individual layers, and combinations of layers seem most promising when applied to human-level NLP tasks. Notably, we find RoBERTa most effective and, despite the standard in past work suggesting the second-to-last or concatenation of the last 4 layers, we find layer 19 (sixth-to last) is at least as good as layer 23 when using 1 layer. Further, when using multiple layers, distributing them across the second half (i.e. Layers 12+), rather than last 4, of the 24 layers yielded the most accurate results.


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Empirical Evaluation of Pre-trained Transformers for Human-Level NLP: The Role of Sample Size and Dimensionality
Adithya V Ganesan | Matthew Matero | Aravind Reddy Ravula | Huy Vu | H. Andrew Schwartz
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

In human-level NLP tasks, such as predicting mental health, personality, or demographics, the number of observations is often smaller than the standard 768+ hidden state sizes of each layer within modern transformer-based language models, limiting the ability to effectively leverage transformers. Here, we provide a systematic study on the role of dimension reduction methods (principal components analysis, factorization techniques, or multi-layer auto-encoders) as well as the dimensionality of embedding vectors and sample sizes as a function of predictive performance. We first find that fine-tuning large models with a limited amount of data pose a significant difficulty which can be overcome with a pre-trained dimension reduction regime. RoBERTa consistently achieves top performance in human-level tasks, with PCA giving benefit over other reduction methods in better handling users that write longer texts. Finally, we observe that a majority of the tasks achieve results comparable to the best performance with just 1/12 of the embedding dimensions.

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MeLT: Message-Level Transformer with Masked Document Representations as Pre-Training for Stance Detection
Matthew Matero | Nikita Soni | Niranjan Balasubramanian | H. Andrew Schwartz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Much of natural language processing is focused on leveraging large capacity language models, typically trained over single messages with a task of predicting one or more tokens. However, modeling human language at higher-levels of context (i.e., sequences of messages) is under-explored. In stance detection and other social media tasks where the goal is to predict an attribute of a message, we have contextual data that is loosely semantically connected by authorship. Here, we introduce Message-Level Transformer (MeLT) – a hierarchical message-encoder pre-trained over Twitter and applied to the task of stance prediction. We focus on stance prediction as a task benefiting from knowing the context of the message (i.e., the sequence of previous messages). The model is trained using a variant of masked-language modeling; where instead of predicting tokens, it seeks to generate an entire masked (aggregated) message vector via reconstruction loss. We find that applying this pre-trained masked message-level transformer to the downstream task of stance detection achieves F1 performance of 67%.


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Autoregressive Affective Language Forecasting: A Self-Supervised Task
Matthew Matero | H. Andrew Schwartz
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Human natural language is mentioned at a specific point in time while human emotions change over time. While much work has established a strong link between language use and emotional states, few have attempted to model emotional language in time. Here, we introduce the task of affective language forecasting – predicting future change in language based on past changes of language, a task with real-world applications such as treating mental health or forecasting trends in consumer confidence. We establish some of the fundamental autoregressive characteristics of the task (necessary history size, static versus dynamic length, varying time-step resolutions) and then build on popular sequence models for words to instead model sequences of language-based emotion in time. Over a novel Twitter dataset of 1,900 users and weekly + daily scores for 6 emotions and 2 additional linguistic attributes, we find a novel dual-sequence GRU model with decayed hidden states achieves best results (r = .66) significantly out-predicting, e.g., a moving averaging based on the past time-steps (r = .49). We make our anonymized dataset as well as task setup and evaluation code available for others to build on.


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Suicide Risk Assessment with Multi-level Dual-Context Language and BERT
Matthew Matero | Akash Idnani | Youngseo Son | Salvatore Giorgi | Huy Vu | Mohammad Zamani | Parth Limbachiya | Sharath Chandra Guntuku | H. Andrew Schwartz
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology

Mental health predictive systems typically model language as if from a single context (e.g. Twitter posts, status updates, or forum posts) and often limited to a single level of analysis (e.g. either the message-level or user-level). Here, we bring these pieces together to explore the use of open-vocabulary (BERT embeddings, topics) and theoretical features (emotional expression lexica, personality) for the task of suicide risk assessment on support forums (the CLPsych-2019 Shared Task). We used dual context based approaches (modeling content from suicide forums separate from other content), built over both traditional ML models as well as a novel dual RNN architecture with user-factor adaptation. We find that while affect from the suicide context distinguishes with no-risk from those with “any-risk”, personality factors from the non-suicide contexts provide distinction of the levels of risk: low, medium, and high risk. Within the shared task, our dual-context approach (listed as SBU-HLAB in the official results) achieved state-of-the-art performance predicting suicide risk using a combination of suicide-context and non-suicide posts (Task B), achieving an F1 score of 0.50 over hidden test set labels.