Predicting Responses to Psychological Questionnaires from Participants’ Social Media Posts and Question Text Embeddings
Huy Vu | Suhaib Abdurahman | Sudeep Bhatia | Lyle Ungar
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020
Psychologists routinely assess people’s emotions and traits, such as their personality, by collecting their responses to survey questionnaires. Such assessments can be costly in terms of both time and money, and often lack generalizability, as existing data cannot be used to predict responses for new survey questions or participants. In this study, we propose a method for predicting a participant’s questionnaire response using their social media texts and the text of the survey question they are asked. Specifically, we use Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools such as BERT embeddings to represent both participants (via the text they write) and survey questions as embeddings vectors, allowing us to predict responses for out-of-sample participants and questions. Our novel approach can be used by researchers to integrate new participants or new questions into psychological studies without the constraint of costly data collection, facilitating novel practical applications and furthering the development of psychological theory. Finally, as a side contribution, the success of our model also suggests a new approach to study survey questions using NLP tools such as text embeddings rather than response data used in traditional methods.