Leveraging Cognitive Features for Sentiment Analysis
Sentiments expressed in user-generated short text and sentences are nuanced by subtleties at lexical, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels. To address this, we propose to augment traditional features used for sentiment analysis and sarcasm detection, with cognitive features derived from the eye-movement patterns of readers. Statistical classification using our enhanced feature set improves the performance (F-score) of polarity detection by a maximum of and on two datasets, over the systems that use only traditional features. We perform feature significance analysis, and experiment on a held-out dataset, showing that cognitive features indeed empower sentiment analyzers to handle complex constructs.
This paper addresses the task of Sentiment Analysis (SA) - automatic detection of the sentiment polarity as positive versus negative - of user-generated short texts and sentences. Several sentiment analyzers exist in literature today [\citenameLiu and Zhang2012]. Recent works, such as \newcitekouloumpis2011twitter, \newciteagarwal2011sentiment and \newcitebarbosa2010robust, attempt to conduct such analyses on user-generated content. Sentiment analysis remains a hard problem, due to the challenges it poses at the various levels, as summarized below.
1.1 Lexical Challenges
Sentiment analyzers face the following three challenges at the lexical level: (1) Data Sparsity, i.e., handling the presence of unseen words/phrases. (e.g., The movie is messy, uncouth, incomprehensible, vicious and absurd) (2) Lexical Ambiguity, e.g., finding appropriate senses of a word given the context (e.g., His face fell when he was dropped from the team vs The boy fell from the bicycle, where the verb “fell” has to be disambiguated) (3) Domain Dependency, tackling words that change polarity across domains. (e.g., the word unpredictable being positive in case of unpredictable movie in movie domain and negative in case of unpredictable steering in car domain). Several methods have been proposed to address the different lexical level difficulties by - (a) using WordNet synsets and word cluster information to tackle lexical ambiguity and data sparsity [\citenameAkkaya et al.2009, \citenameBalamurali et al.2011, \citenameGo et al.2009, \citenameMaas et al.2011, \citenamePopat et al.2013, \citenameSaif et al.2012] and (b) mining domain dependent words [\citenameSharma and Bhattacharyya2013, \citenameWiebe and Mihalcea2006].
1.2 Syntactic Challenges
Difficulty at the syntax level arises when the given text follows a complex phrasal structure and, phrase attachments are expected to be resolved before performing SA. For instance, the sentence A somewhat crudely constructed but gripping, questing look at a person so racked with self-loathing, he becomes an enemy to his own race. requires processing at the syntactic level, before analyzing the sentiment. Approaches leveraging syntactic properties of text include generating dependency based rules for SA [\citenamePoria et al.2014] and leveraging local dependency [\citenameLi et al.2010].
1.3 Semantic and Pragmatic Challenges
This corresponds to the difficulties arising in the higher layers of NLP, i.e., semantic and pragmatic layers. Challenges in these layers include handling: (a) Sentiment expressed implicitly (e.g., Guy gets girl, guy loses girl, audience falls asleep.) (b) Presence of sarcasm and other forms of irony (e.g., This is the kind of movie you go because the theater has air-conditioning.) and (c) Thwarted expectations (e.g., The acting is fine. Action sequences are top-notch. Still, I consider it as a below average movie due to its poor storyline.).
Such challenges are extremely hard to tackle with traditional NLP tools, as these need both linguistic and pragmatic knowledge. Most attempts towards handling thwarting [\citenameRamteke et al.2013] and sarcasm and irony [\citenameCarvalho et al.2009, \citenameRiloff et al.2013, \citenameLiebrecht et al.2013, \citenameMaynard and Greenwood2014, \citenameBarbieri et al.2014, \citenameJoshi et al.2015], rely on distant supervision based techniques (e.g., leveraging hashtags) and/or stylistic/pragmatic features (emoticons, laughter expressions such as “lol” etc). Addressing difficulties for linguistically well-formed texts, in absence of explicit cues (like emoticons), proves to be difficult using textual/stylistic features alone.
1.4 Introducing Cognitive Features
We empower our systems by augmenting cognitive features along with traditional linguistic features used for general sentiment analysis, thwarting and sarcasm detection. Cognitive features are derived from the eye-movement patterns of human annotators recorded while they annotate short-text with sentiment labels. Our hypothesis is that cognitive processes in the brain are related to eye-movement activities [\citenameParasuraman and Rizzo2006]. Hence, considering readers’ eye-movement patterns while they read sentiment bearing texts may help tackle linguistic nuances better. We perform statistical classification using various classifiers and different feature combinations. With our augmented feature-set, we observe a significant improvement of accuracy across all classifiers for two different datasets. Experiments on a carefully curated held-out dataset indicate a significant improvement in sentiment polarity detection over the state of the art, specifically text with complex constructs like irony and sarcasm. Through feature significance analysis, we show that cognitive features indeed empower sentiment analyzers to handle complex constructs like irony and sarcasm. Our approach is the first of its kind to the best of our knowledge. We share various resources and data related to this work at http://www.cfilt.iitb.ac.in/cognitive-nlp
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents a summary of past work done in traditional SA and SA from a psycholinguistic point of view. Section 3 describes the available datasets we have taken for our analysis. Section 4 presents our features that comprise both traditional textual features, used for sentiment analysis and cognitive features derived from annotators’ eye-movement patterns. In section 5, we discuss the results for various sentiment classification techniques under different combinations of textual and cognitive features, showing the effectiveness of cognitive features. In section 6, we discuss on the feasibility of our approach before concluding the paper in section 7.
2 Related Work
Sentiment classification has been a long standing NLP problem with both supervised [\citenamePang et al.2002, \citenameBenamara et al.2007, \citenameMartineau and Finin2009] and unsupervised [\citenameMei et al.2007, \citenameLin and He2009] machine learning based approaches existing for the task.
Supervised approaches are popular because of their superior classification accuracy [\citenameMullen and Collier2004, \citenamePang and Lee2008] and in such approaches, feature engineering plays an important role. Apart from the commonly used bag-of-words features based on unigrams, bigrams etc. [\citenameDave et al.2003, \citenameNg et al.2006], syntactic properties [\citenameMartineau and Finin2009, \citenameNakagawa et al.2010], semantic properties [\citenameBalamurali et al.2011] and effect of negators. \newciteikeda2008learning are also used as features for the task of sentiment classification. The fact that sentiment expression may be complex to be handled by traditional features is evident from a study of comparative sentences by \newciteganapathibhotla2008mining. This, however has not been addressed by feature based approaches.
Eye-tracking technology has been used recently for sentiment analysis and annotation related research (apart from the huge amount of work in psycholinguistics that we find hard to enlist here due to space limitations). \newcitejoshi2014measuring develop a method to measure the sentiment annotation complexity using cognitive evidence from eye-tracking. \newcitemishra2014cognitive study sentiment detection, and subjectivity extraction through anticipation and homing, with the use of eye tracking. Regarding other NLP tasks, \newcitejoshi2013more propose a studied the cognitive aspects if Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD) through eye-tracking. Earlier, \newcitemishra2013automatically measure translation annotation difficulty of a given sentence based on gaze input of translators used to label training data. \newciteklerke2016improving present a novel multi-task learning approach for sentence compression using labelled data, while, \newcitebarrett-sogaard:2015:CogACLL discriminate between grammatical functions using gaze features. The recent advancements in the literature discussed above, motivate us to explore gaze-based cognition for sentiment analysis.
We acknowledge that some of the well performing sentiment analyzers use Deep Learning techniques (like Convolutional Neural Network based approach by \newcitemaas2011learning and Recursive Neural Network based approach by \newcitedos2014deep). In these, the features are automatically learned from the input text. Since our approach is feature based, we do not consider these approaches for our current experimentation. Taking inputs from gaze data and using them in a deep learning setting sounds intriguing, though, it is beyond the scope of this work.
3 Eye-tracking and Sentiment Analysis Datasets
We use two publicly available datasets for our experiments. Dataset has been released by \newcitesarcasmunderstandability which they use for the task of sarcasm understandability prediction. Dataset has been used by \newcitejoshi2014measuring for the task of sentiment annotation complexity prediction. These datasets contain many instances with higher level nuances like presence of implicit sentiment, sarcasm and thwarting. We describe the datasets below.
3.1 Dataset 1
It contains text snippets with positive and negative examples. Out of this, are sarcastic or have other forms of irony. The snippets are a collection of reviews, normalized-tweets and quotes. Each snippet is annotated by seven participants with binary positive/negative polarity labels. Their eye-movement patterns are recorded with a high quality SR-Research Eyelink- eye-tracker (sampling rate Hz). The annotation accuracy varies from with a Fleiss kappa inter-rater agreement of .
This dataset consists of snippets comprising movie reviews and normalized tweets. Each snippet is annotated by five participants with positive, negative and objective labels. Eye-tracking is done using a low quality Tobii T eye-tracker (sampling rate Hz). The annotation accuracy varies from with a Fleiss kappa inter-rater agreement of . We rule out the objective ones and consider snippets out of which are positive and are negative.
3.3 Performance of Existing SA Systems Considering Dataset - and as Test Data
It is essential to check whether our selected datasets really pose challenges to existing sentiment analyzers or not. For this, we implement two statistical classifiers and a rule based classifier to check the test accuracy of Dataset and Dataset . The statistical classifiers are based on Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Näive Bayes (NB) implemented using Weka [\citenameHall et al.2009] and LibSVM [\citenameChang and Lin2011] APIs. These are on trained on 10662 snippets comprising movie reviews and tweets, randomly collected from standard datasets released by \newcitepang2004sentimental and Sentiment 140 (http://www.sentiment140.com/). The feature-set comprises traditional features for SA reported in a number of papers. They are discussed in section 4 under the category of Sentiment Features. The in-house rule based (RB) classifier decides the sentiment labels based on the counts of positive and negative words present in the snippet, computed using MPQA lexicon [\citenameWilson et al.2005]. It also considers negators as explained by \newciteJia:2009:ENS:1645953.1646241 and intensifiers as explained by \newcitedragut2014role.
Table 1 presents the accuracy of the three systems. The F-scores are not very high for all the systems (especially for dataset 1 that contains more sarcastic/ironic texts), possibly indicating that the snippets in our dataset pose challenges for existing sentiment analyzers. Hence, the selected datasets are ideal for our current experimentation that involves cognitive features.
4 Enhanced feature set for SA
Our feature-set into four categories viz. (1) Sentiment features (2) Sarcasm, Irony and Thwarting related Features (3) Cognitive features from eye-movement (4) Textual features related to reading difficulty. We describe our feature-set below.
4.1 Sentiment Features
We consider a series of textual features that have been extensively used in sentiment literature [\citenameLiu and Zhang2012]. The features are described below. Each feature is represented by a unique abbreviated form, which are used in the subsequent discussions.
Presence of Unigrams (NGRAM_PCA) i.e. Presence of unigrams appearing in each sentence that also appear in the vocabulary obtained from the training corpus. To avoid overfitting (since our training data size is less), we reduce the dimension to 500 using Principal Component Analysis.
Subjective words (Positive_words,
Negative_words) i.e. Presence of positive and negative words computed against MPQA lexicon [\citenameWilson et al.2005], a popular lexicon used for sentiment analysis.
Subjective scores (PosScore, NegScore) i.e. Scores of positive subjectivity and negative subjectivity using SentiWordNet [\citenameEsuli and Sebastiani2006].
Sentiment flip count (FLIP) i.e. Number of times words polarity changes in the text. Word polarity is determined using MPQA lexicon.
Part of Speech ratios (VERB, NOUN, ADJ, ADV) i.e. Ratios (proportions) of verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs in the text. This is computed using NLTK111http://www.nltk.org/.
Count of Named Entities (NE) i.e. Number of named entity mentions in the text. This is computed using NLTK.
Discourse connectors (DC) i.e. Number of discourse connectors in the text computed using an in-house list of discourse connectors (like however, although etc.)
4.2 Sarcasm, Irony and Thwarting related Features
To handle complex texts containing constructs irony, sarcasm and thwarted expectations as explained earlier, we consider the following features. The features are taken from \newciteriloff2013sarcasm, \newciteramteke2013detecting and \newcitejoshi2015harnessing.
Implicit incongruity (IMPLICIT_PCA) i.e. Presence of positive phrases followed by negative situational phrase (computed using bootstrapping technique suggested by \newciteriloff2013sarcasm). We consider the top 500 principal components of these phrases to reduce dimension, in order to avoid overfitting.
Punctuation marks (PUNC) i.e. Count of punctuation marks in the text.
Largest pos/neg subsequence (LAR) i.e. Length of the largest series of words with polarities unchanged. Word polarity is determined using MPQA lexicon.
Lexical polarity (LP) i.e. Sentence polarity found by supervised logistic regression using the dataset used by \newcitejoshi2015harnessing.
4.3 Cognitive features from eye-movement
Eye-movement patterns are characterized by two basic attributes: Fixations, corresponding to a longer stay of gaze on a visual object (like characters, words etc. in text) Saccades, corresponding to the transition of eyes between two fixations. Moreover, a saccade is called a Regressive Saccade or simply, Regression if it represents a phenomenon of going back to a pre-visited segment. A portion of a text is said to be skipped if it does not have any fixation. Figure 1 shows eye-movement behavior during annotation of the given sentence in dataset-. The circles represent fixation and the line connecting the circles represent saccades. Our cognition driven features are derived from these basic eye-movement attributes. We divide our features in two sets as explained ahead.
4.4 Basic gaze features
Readers’ eye-movement behavior, characterized by fixations, forward saccades, skips and regressions, can be directly quantified by simple statistical aggregation (i.e., computing features for individual participants and then averaging). Since these behaviors intuitively relate to the cognitive process of the readers [\citenameRayner and Sereno1994], we consider simple statistical properties of these factors as features to our model. Some of these features have been reported by \newcitesarcasmunderstandability for modeling sarcasm understandability of readers. However, as far as we know, these features are being introduced in NLP tasks like sentiment analysis for the first time.
Average First-Fixation Duration per word (FDUR) i.e. Sum of first-fixation duration divided by word count. First fixations are fixations occurring during the first pass reading. Intuitively, an increased first fixation duration is associated to more time spent on the words, which accounts for lexical complexity. This is motivated by \newciterayner1986lexical.
Average Fixation Count (FC) i.e. Sum of fixation counts divided by word count. If the reader reads fast, the first fixation duration may not be high even if the lexical complexity is more. But the number of fixations may increase on the text. So, fixation count may help capture lexical complexity in such cases.
Average Saccade Length (SL) i.e. Sum of saccade lengths (measured by number of words) divided by word count. Intuitively, lengthy saccades represent the text being structurally/syntactically complex. This is also supported by \newcitevon2011scanpath.
Regression Count (REG) i.e. Total number of gaze regressions. Regressions correspond to both lexical and syntactic re-analysis [\citenameMalsburg et al.2015]. Intuitively, regression count should be useful in capturing both syntactic and semantic difficulties.
Skip count (SKIP) i.e. Number of words skipped divided by total word count. Intuitively, higher skip count should correspond lesser semantic processing requirement (assuming that skipping is not done intentionally).
Count of regressions from second half to first half of the sentence (RSF) i.e. Number of regressions from second half of the sentence to the first half of the sentence (given the sentence is divided into two equal half of words). Constructs like sarcasm, irony often have phrases that are incongruous (e.g. ”The book is so great that it can be used as a paperweight”- the incongruous phrases are ”book is so great” and ”used as a paperweight”.. Intuitively, when a reader encounters such incongruous phrases, the second phrases often cause a surprisal resulting in a long regression to the first part of the text. Hence, this feature is considered.
Largest Regression Position (LREG) i.e. Ratio of the absolute position of the word from which a regression with the largest amplitude (in terms of number of characters) is observed, to the total word count of sentence. This is chosen under the assumption that regression with the maximum amplitude may occur from the portion of the text which causes maximum surprisal (in order to get more information about the portion causing maximum surprisal). The relative starting position of such portion, captured by LREG, may help distinguish between sentences with different linguistic subtleties.
4.5 Complex gaze features
We propose a graph structure constructed from the gaze data to derive more complex gaze features. We term the graph as gaze-saliency graphs.
A gaze-saliency graph for a sentence for a reader , represented as , is a graph with vertices () and edges () where each vertex corresponds to a word in (may not be unique) and there exists an edge between vertices and if R performs at least one saccade between the words corresponding to and . Figure 2 shows an example of such a graph.
Edge density of the saliency gaze graph (ED) i.e. Ratio of number of edges in the gaze saliency graph and total number of possible links () in the saliency graph. As, Edge Density of a saliency graph increases with the number of distinct saccades, it is supposed to increase if the text is semantically more difficult.
Fixation Duration at Left/Source as Edge Weight (F1H, F1S) i.e. Largest weighted degree (F1H) and second largest weighted degree (F1S) of the saliency graph considering the fixation duration on the word of node of edge as edge weight.
Fixation Duration at Right/Target as Edge Weight (F2H, F2S) i.e. Largest weighted degree (F2H) and second largest weighted degree (F2S) of the saliency graph considering the fixation duration of the word of node of edge as edge weight.
Forward Saccade Count as Edge Weight (FSH, FSS) i.e. Largest weighted degree (FSH) and second largest weighted degree (FSS) of the saliency graph considering the number of forward saccades between nodes and of an edge as edge weight..
Forward Saccade Distance as Edge Weight (FSDH, FSDS) i.e. Largest weighted degree (FSDH) and second largest weighted degree (FSDS) of the saliency graph considering the total distance (word count) of forward saccades between nodes and of an edge as edge weight.
Regressive Saccade Count as Edge Weight (RSH, RSS) i.e. Largest weighted degree (RSH) and second largest weighted degree (RSS) of the saliency graph considering the number of regressive saccades between nodes and of an edge as edge weight.
Regressive Saccade Distance as Edge Weight (RSDH, RSDS) i.e. Largest weighted degree (RSDH) and second largest weighted degree (RSDS) of the saliency graph considering the number of regressive saccades between nodes and of an edge as edge weight.
The ”highest and second highest degree” based gaze features derived from saliency graphs are motivated by our qualitative observations from the gaze data. Intuitively, the highest weighted degree of a graph is expected to be higher if some phrases have complex semantic relationships with others.
4.6 Features Related to Reading Difficulty
Eye-movement during reading text with sentiment related nuances (like sarcasm) can be similar to text with other forms of difficulties. To address the effect of sentence length, word length and syllable count that affect reading behavior, we consider the following features.
Readability Ease (RED) i.e. Flesch Readability Ease score of the text [\citenameKincaid et al.1975]. Higher the score, easier is the text to comprehend.
Sentence Length (LEN) i.e. Number of words in the sentence.
We now explain our experimental setup and results.
5 Experiments and results
|Classifier||Näive Bayes||SVM||Multi-layer NN|
|Sn + Sr||2|
We test the effectiveness of the enhanced feature-set by implementing three classifiers viz., SVM (with linear kernel), NB and Multi-layered Neural Network. These systems are implemented using the Weka [\citenameHall et al.2009] and LibSVM [\citenameChang and Lin2011] APIs. Several classifier hyperparameters are kept to the default values given in Weka. We separately perform a 10-fold cross validation on both Dataset 1 and 2 using different sets of feature combinations. The average F-scores for the class-frequency based random classifier are and for dataset 1 and dataset 2 respectively.
The classification accuracy is reported in Table 2. We observe the maximum accuracy with the complete feature-set comprising Sentiment, Sarcasm and Thwarting, and Cognitive features derived from gaze data. For this combination, SVM outperforms the other classifiers. The novelty of our feature design lies in (a) First augmenting sarcasm and thwarting based features (Sr) with sentiment features (Sn), which shoots up the accuracy by for Dataset1 and for Dataset2 (b) Augmenting gaze features with Sn+Sr, which further increases the accuracy by and for Dataset 1 and 2 respectively, amounting to an overall improvement of and respectively. It may be noted that the addition of gaze features may seem to bring meager improvements in the classification accuracy but the improvements are consistent across datasets and several classifiers. Still, we speculate that aggregating various eye-tracking parameters to extract the cognitive features may have caused loss of information, there by limiting the improvements. For example, the graph based features are computed for each participant and eventually averaged to get the graph features for a sentence, thereby not leveraging the power of individual eye-movement patterns. We intend to address this issue in future.
Since the best () and the second best feature () combinations are close in terms of accuracy (difference of for dataset 1 and for dataset 2), we perform a statistical significance test using McNemar test (). The difference in the F-scores turns out to be strongly significant with (The odds ratio is , with a confidence interval). However, the difference in the F-scores is not statistically significant () for dataset 2 for the best and second best feature combinations.
|Rank||Dataset 1||Dataset 2|
5.1 Importance of cognitive features
We perform a chi-squared test based feature significance analysis, shown in Table 3. For dataset 1, out of the top ranked features are gaze-based features and for dataset 2, out of top features are gaze-based, as shown in bold letters. Moreover, if we consider gaze features alone for feature ranking using chi-squared test, features FC, SL, FSDH, FSDS, RSDH and RSDS turn out to be insignificant.
To study whether the cognitive features actually help in classifying complex output as hypothesized earlier, we repeat the experiment on a held-out dataset, randomly derived from Dataset 1. It has text snippets out of which contain complex constructs like irony/sarcasm and rest of the snippets are relatively simpler. We choose SVM, our best performing classifier, with similar configuration as explained in section 5.
|1. I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book||-1||1||1||0||1||-1||-1|
|2. I love when you do not have two minutes to text me back.||-1||1||-1||1||1||1||-1|
As seen in Table 4, the relative improvement of F-score, when gaze features are included, is for complex texts and is for simple texts (all the values are statistically significant with for McNemar test, except and for Non-irony case.). This demonstrates the efficacy of the gaze based features.
Table 5 shows a few example cases (obtained from test folds) showing the effectiveness of our enhanced feature set.
6 Feasibility of our approach
Since our method requires gaze data from human readers to be available, the methods practicability becomes questionable. We present our views on this below.
6.1 Availability of Mobile Eye-trackers
Availability of inexpensive embedded eye-trackers on hand-held devices has come close to reality now. This opens avenues to get eye-tracking data from inexpensive mobile devices from a huge population of online readers non-intrusively, and derive cognitive features to be used in predictive frameworks like ours. For instance, Cogisen: (http://www.sencogi.com) has a patent (ID: EP2833308-A1) on “eye-tracking using inexpensive mobile web-cams”. \newcitewood2014eyetab have introduced EyeTab, a model-based approach for binocular gaze estimation that runs entirely on tablets.
6.2 Applicability Scenario
We believe, mobile eye-tracking modules could be a part of mobile applications built for e-commerce, online learning, gaming etc. where automatic analysis of online reviews calls for better solutions to detect and handle linguistic nuances in sentiment analysis setting. To give an example, let’s say a book gets different reviews on Amazon. Our system could watch how readers read the review using mobile eye-trackers, and thereby, decide the polarity of opinion, especially when sentiment is not expressed explicitly (e.g., using strong polar words) in the text. Such an application can horizontally scale across the web, helping to improve automatic classification of online reviews.
6.3 Getting Users’ Consent for Eye-tracking
Eye-tracking technology has already been utilized by leading mobile technology developers (like Samsung) to facilitate richer user experiences through services like Smart-scroll (where a user’s eye movement determines whether a page has to be scrolled or not) and Smart-lock (where user’s gaze position decided whether to lock the screen or not). The growing interest of users in using such services takes us to a promising situation where getting users’ consent to record eye-movement patterns will not be difficult, though it is yet not the current state of affairs.
We combined traditional sentiment features with (a) different textual features used for sarcasm and thwarting detection, and (b) cognitive features derived from readers’ eye movement behavior. The combined feature set improves the overall accuracy over the traditional feature set based SA by a margin of and respectively for Datasets and . It is significantly effective for text with complex constructs, leading to an improvement of on our held-out data. In future, we propose to explore (a) devising deeper gaze-based features and (b) multi-view classification using independent learning from linguistics and cognitive data. We also plan to explore deeper graph and gaze features, and models to learn complex gaze feature representation. Our general approach may be useful in other problems like emotion analysis, text summarization and question answering, where textual clues alone do not prove to be sufficient.
We thank the members of CFILT Lab, especially Jaya Jha and Meghna Singh, and the students of IIT Bombay for their help and support.
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