Bridging Emotion Role Labeling and Appraisal-based Emotion Analysis

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Roman Klinger


The term emotion analysis in text subsumes various natural language processing tasks which have in common the goal to enable computers to understand emotions. Most popular is emotion classification in which one or multiple emotions are assigned to a predefined textual unit. While such setting is appropriate to identify the reader's or author's emotion, emotion role labeling adds the perspective of mentioned entities and extracts text spans that correspond to the emotion cause. The underlying emotion theories agree on one important point; that an emotion is caused by some internal or external event and comprises several subcomponents, including the subjective feeling and a cognitive evaluation. We therefore argue that emotions and events are related in two ways. (1) Emotions are events; and this perspective is the fundament in NLP for emotion role labeling. (2) Emotions are caused by events; a perspective that is made explicit with research how to incorporate psychological appraisal theories in NLP models to interpret events. These two research directions, role labeling and (event-focused) emotion classification, have by and large been tackled separately. We contributed to both directions with the projects SEAT (Structured Multi-Domain Emotion Analysis from Text) and CEAT (Computational Event Evaluation based on Appraisal Theories for Emotion Analysis), both funded by the German Research Foundation. In this paper, we consolidate the findings and point out open research questions.

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