Brockmann (2009):
Personality and Alignment Processes in Dialogue:
Towards a Lexically-Based Unified Model

Brockmann, Carsten (2009). Personality and Alignment Processes in Dialogue: Towards a Lexically-Based Unified Model. Ph. D. thesis, University of Edinburgh, UK.


This thesis explores approaches to modelling individual differences in language use. The differences under consideration fall into two broad categories: Variation of the personality projected through language, and modelling of language alignment behaviour between dialogue partners. In a way, these two aspects oppose each other – language related to varying personalities should be recognisably different, while aligning speakers agree on common language during a dialogue.

The central hypothesis is that such variation can be captured and produced with restricted computational means. Results from research on personality psychology and psycholinguistics are transformed into a series of lexically-based Affective Language Production Models (ALPMs) which are parameterisable for personality and alignment. The models are then explored by varying the parameters and observing the language they generate.

ALPM-1 and ALPM-2 re-generate dialogues from existing utterances which are ranked and filtered according to manually selected linguistic and psycholinguistic features that were found to be related to personality. ALPM-3 is based on true overgeneration of paraphrases from semantic representations using the OpenCCG framework for Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG), in combination with corpus-based ranking and filtering by way of n-gram language models. Personality effects are achieved through language models built from the language of speakers of known personality. In ALPM-4, alignment is captured via a cache language model that remembers the previous utterance and thus influences the choice of the next. This model provides a unified treatment of personality and alignment processes in dialogue.

In order to evaluate the ALPMs, dialogues between computer characters were generated and presented to human judges who were asked to assess the characters' personality. In further internal simulations, cache language models were used to reproduce results of psycholinguistic priming studies. The experiments showed that the models are capable of producing natural language dialogue which exhibits human-like personality and alignment effects.

BibTeX Entry

  author =	 {Brockmann, Carsten},
  title =	 {Personality and Alignment Processes in Dialogue: Towards a
                  Lexically-Based Unified Model},
  school =	 {University of Edinburgh},
  year =	 2009,
  address =	 {UK}


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Carsten Brockmann <cabro at>, 2010-02-20