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Proceedings of the Seventh Italian Conference on Computational Linguistics CLiC-it 2020

 | 
Felice Dell'Orletta
, 
Johanna Monti
, 
Fabio Tamburini

Contributed Papers

Predicting movie-elicited emotions from dialogue in screenplay text: A study on “Forrest Gump”

Benedetta Iavarone et Felice Dell’Orletta

Résumé

We present a new dataset of sentences1 extracted from the movie Forrest Gump, annotated with the emotions perceived by a group of subjects while watching the movie. We run experiments to predict these emotions using two classifiers, one based on a Support Vector Machine with linguistic and lexical features, the other based on BERT. The experiments showed that contextual embeddings are effective in predicting human-perceived emotions.

Texte intégral

We thank MoMiLab research group of IMT Lucca for having shared with us the data they collected on human-perceived emotions. Furthermore, we are grateful to the studyforrest project and all its contributors.

1. Introduction

1Emotional intelligence, described as the set of skills that contributes to the accurate appraisal, expression and regulation of emotions in oneself and in others (Salovey and Mayer 1990), is recognised to be one of the facets that make us humans and the fundamental ability of human-like intelligence (Goleman 2006). Emotional intelligence has played a crucial role in numerous applications during the last years (Krakovsky 2018), and being able to pinpoint expressions of human emotions is essential to advance further in technological innovation. Emotions can be identified in many sources, among which there are semantics and sentiment in texts (Calefato, Lanubile, and Novielli 2017). In NLP, Sentiment Analysis already boasts many state-of-the-art tools that can accurately predict or classify the polarity of a text. However, real applications often need to go beyond the dichotomy positive-negative and identify the emotional content of a text with a finer granularity. Nevertheless, the task of predicting a precise emotion from text brings many challenges, mostly because there is a need of context: emotions can’t be easily understood in isolation, as they are conveyed by a complex of explicit (e.g. speech) and implicit (e.g. gesture and posture) behavioural cues. Still, there has been an increasing interest in research for text-based emotion detection (Acheampong, Wenyu, and Nunoo-Mensah 2020). In this work, we study how textual information extracted from the screenplay of a movie can be used to predict the emotions perceived by a group of people during the view of the movie itself. We create a new dataset of sentences extracted from the screenplay, annotated with six different perceived emotions and their perceived intensity and create a binary classification task to predict emotional elicitation during the view of the movie. We use two predicting models, with different kind of features that capture diverse language information. We determine which model and which kind of features are the best for predicting the emotions perceived by the subjects.

2. Data

Subject

Happiness

Surprise

Fear

Sadness

Anger

Disgust

Neutral

Emotion

1

592

172

101

557

111

166

22

876

2

628

87

83

539

120

42

61

837

3

345

471

212

340

123

37

30

868

4

274

179

137

255

119

133

276

622

5

244

84

98

224

83

6

305

593

6

496

92

147

264

60

13

113

785

7

277

255

88

132

88

23

286

612

8

357

218

119

305

103

77

231

667

9

299

389

15

147

109

22

312

586

10

213

125

81

255

60

0

377

521

11

352

320

116

307

150

30

120

778

12

180

36

22

149

34

25

526

372

Total

4257

2428

1219

3474

1160

574

2659

8117

2Our dataset was retrieved from studyforrest2, a research project centered around the use of the movie Forrest Gump. The project repository contains data contributions from various research groups, divided in three areas: (i) behavior and brain function, (ii) brain structure and connectivity, and (iii) movie stimulus annotations. We focused on the latter, retrieving two types of data: the speech present in the movie and the emotions that the vision of the movie elicited in a group of subjects. As for the speech, each screenplay line pronounced by the characters is transcribed in sentences and associated with two timestamps in terms of tenths of a second tbegin and tend, that respectively indicate the moment of the movie in which the character starts talking and the moment in which they stop. Emotional data comes from the contribution to the project given by Lettieri et al. (2019). A group of 12 subjects was asked to watch the movie and report the emotions they were experiencing during the vision, among a list of six emotions (happiness, surprise, fear, sadness, anger, disgust). Emotion reporting was performed by pressing the keys of a keyboard, with which subjects could indicate the emotion they were experiencing and its intensity, within a range from 0 (no emotion) to 100.

2.1 Data creation

Emotional data was collected from a continuous output z =(z1,z2, ..., zn) from the keyboard, such that each zi corresponds to an increment of 0.1 sec-onds in the playing time of the movie (zi =0.1, zi+1 =0.2, zi+2 =0.3, ...). Each zi is associandated to a list Image 100000000000005F0000000EF45DBF270C6AD4CB.jpgwith Image 100000000000005B00000014E0C45671AD9CF43F.jpgand Image 10000000000001AC0000001368AA4FCA9FFBA914.jpg, where each xj indicates the intensity that one emotion assumes at a given timestamp. For our purpose, this information was too detailed and it could not be mapped to textual data properly, thus we proceeded to resample emotional information. We generated new timestamps s = (s1,s2, ..., sm), such that each si corresponds to the sum of 20 con-secutive zi, thus to an increment of 2 seconds in the playing time of the movie. Each si is associated to a new list of emotional values, where each new value is the average of the values associated to the summed zi.

After resampling, we aligned the text to emotional data. As one of our aims is to determine how much text is needed for accurate emotion prediction, we considered three progressively larger time windows for each sk, such that windowi=[s_{k}-m,sk], where m=(2,4,6). For each sentence, we retrieve its tend and align the sentence verifying if Image 10000000000000920000000F94C73C2634941111.jpg, thus checking if the moment in which the sentence ends falls within the given time window. In this way, the larger the time window, the larger the amount of text that gets aligned with a specific timestamp. With this process, we created three different datasets, one for each time window. We then removed all the lines in which no text was aligned to sk. For each dataset, we end up having 898 timestamps associated with a line of text and 6 emotion declarations for each of the 12 subjects.

2.2 Data statistics and data selection

We first looked at the distribution of our data, ex-amining how many times each subject declared a specific emotion. Whenever the subject assigned a value different than zero to a certain emotion, we considered that emotion as present at a given times-tamp, regardless of its intensity. If all 6 emotions were zero at the same time (all xj =0), we as-signed to that case the class neutral. Furthermore, if any given emotion was declared (at least one Image 1000000000000032000000137EA32955B5B5D37D.jpg), we assigned to that case the class emotion, to indicate a generic emotional response.

3As shown in Table 1, the most represented emotions in the dataset are happiness and sadness, while the others are underrepresented. Table 1 also shows that emotions distribution is quite uneven among the different subjects, as there were some subjects that declared emotions frequently and others that entered fewer declarations. This is due to the fact that emotive phenomena are strongly subjective, meaning that emotion processing is specific to each person and that everyone experiences emotions at a different granularity (Barrett 2006). To account for this factor, we measured the level of agreement between the 12 subjects using Fleiss’ Kappa. Table 2 reports the percentage of agreement for each emotion in the data. The lowest agreement was found on surprise and disgust. As disgust is also the less declared emotion, it is fair to assume that the movie does not contain many moments that elicit this emotion in the subjects. On the other side, the strongest agreement is found on fear and anger, showing that these emotions are evoked in specific scenes of the movie and that subjects had a similar emotional response to those scenes. In Table 3 we report examples of sentences on which the subjects agreed the most, for all six emotions. For every emotion, there are many sentences on which a large number of subjects agreed, meaning that there were various moments of the movie that elicited the same emotions in the subjects. In the case of disgust, the highest level of agreement was achieved at 8 subjects, only on one sentence. There were no other sentences for which 8 subjects (or more) agreed. This is justified by the fact that disgust is the less represented emotion in the data.

Table 2: Annotators agreement (Fleiss’ Kappa) on all emotions

Emotion

Agreement

happiness

0.32

surprise

0.14

fear

0.41

sadness

0.31

anger

0.42

disgust

0.17

Table 3: Examples of sentences on which subjects agreed the most, for all emotions

Emotion

N subjs

Text

happiness

12

I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. She was like an angel.

surprise

11

Jenny! Forrest!

fear

12

(into radio) Ah, Jesus! My unit is down hard and hurting! 6 pulling back to the blue line, Leg Lima 6 out! Pull back! Pull back!

sadness

12

Bubba was my best good friend. And even I know that ain’t something you can find just around the corner. Bubba was gonna be a shrimpin’ Boat captain, But instead he died right there by that river in Vietnam.

anger

12

Are you retarded, Or just plain stupid? Look, I’m Forrest Gump.

disgust

8

You don’t say much, do you?

Given the information on the agreement and on emotions distribution, we decided not to examine underrepresented emotions directly, even if their agreement was strong (i.e. surprise). In order to still account for underrepresented emotions, we relied on the general class emotion. Hence we assessed three different scenarios: (i) the presence of any kind of emotion (at least one Image 1000000000000032000000137EA32955B5B5D37D.jpg), (ii) the presence of happiness (Image 100000000000006600000013D1BC71DBA61F8FD7.jpg) and (iii) the presence of sadness (Image 100000000000005A00000011026E292089BA6939.jpg). Furthermore, we decided to conduct our experiments only on two subjects, subject 4 and subject 8. We focused on these specific subjects as they declared all emotions evenly, without neglecting any of them, and because the number of declarations for each emotion was quite similar between the two subjects.

Figure 1

Image 10000000000003B00000045A93F511C8B1FCE661.jpg

Performances (accuracy) of SVM and BERT models in the prediction of emotion, happiness of sadness, for every timespan window, and for both subject 4 and subject 8.

3 Emotions prediction

4We evaluated the three scenarios described in 2.2 in contrast to the absence of any emotion (all xj = 0), producing three binary classification tasks. We re-lied on two sets of features: automatically extracted linguistic and lexical features, and contextual word embeddings from a language model.

3.1 Prediction with linguistic and lexical features

5For the first set of features, sentences were first POS tagged and parsed using UDPipe (Straka and Straková, 2017). We extracted a wide set of features, like the ones described in Brunato et al. (2020). These features capture various linguistic phenomena, that range from raw information to information related to the morpho-syntactic and syntactic structure of the sentence (rows 1, 2 and 3 in Table 4, hereafter linguistic features). Addi-tionally, we extracted other features that are able to capture some lexical information (row 4 in Table 4, hereafter lexical features), as they identify set of characters or words that appear more frequently within a sentence. We trained two SVM models, one on the linguistic features (SVMling), one on the lexical features (SVMlex). We trained the models with a linear kernel and standard parameters, performing 10-cross-fold validation to evaluate the models accuracy.

Table 4: Linguistic and Lexical Features

Level of Annotation

*Feature

{Raw Text

Sentence length

Word length

Type/Token Ratio for words and lemmas

POS tagging

Distibution of POS

Lexical density

Inflectional morphology of lexical verbs and auxiliaries (Mood, Number, Person, Tense and VerbForm)

Dependency Parsing

Depth of the whole syntactic tree

Average length of dependency links and of the longest link

Average length of prepositional chains and distribution by depth

Clause length (n. tokens/verbal heads)

Order of subject and object

Distribution of verbs by arity

Distribution of verbal heads and verbal roots

Distribution of dependency relations

Distribution of subordinate and principal clauses

Average length of subordination chains and distribution by depth

Relative order of subordinate clauses

Lexical Patterns

Bigrams, trigrams and quadrigrams of characters, words and lemmas

3.2 Prediction with language model

6For the second set of features, we relied on BERT (Devlin et al., 2019), a Neural Language Model that encodes contextual information. We retrieved the pre-trained base model and fine tuned it on our data. The pre-trained BERT model already includes a lot of information about the language, as it has already been trained on a large amount of data. By fine tuning it on our data, we are able to exploit the information already acquired by the model and use it for our task. We performed different fine tuning stages, then used the so fine-tuned models to perform the binary classification task on our data. We evaluated model accuracy using 10 cross-fold-validation. Specifically, we tested three different fine tuning approaches: (1) original data (BERTorig), (2) oversampled data to balance the neutral class (BERTover), (3) oversampled data + transfer learning tuning (BERTtransf ). In the case of (3), we first fine tuned the model on data dif-ferent than ours but conceived for a similar task. Notably, we relied on data created for SemEval-2018 Task 1E-c (Mohammad et al., 2018), con-taining tweets annotated with 11 emotion classes. After this first tuning, we tuned the model again on our oversampled data and proceeded with the classification task.

4 Results and discussion

7Figure 1 shows the accuracy scores for all the models, for both subjects and the three datasets. In all cases, the baseline was determined with a majority classifier. The results appear similar for both subjects.

8SVM models are always outperformed by BERT ones. In any case, SVMling is the model that gave the lowest performance, remaining below or around the baseline value. On the contrary, SVMlex tends to bring a higher performance, despite remaining close to the baseline in most cases. On one side, this is due to the fact that features that look at the raw, morpho-syntactic and syntactic aspects of text, do not encode any relevant information regarding the emotional cues in the text. SVMlex always performs better than SVMling because lexical features look at patterns of words and characters that are repeated in the input text and thus record information about the lexicon of the dataset. However, as our dataset is too small, it is hard for the model to retrieve the same lexical patterns in both the training and test set.

9BERT models outperform the SVM ones in both happiness and sadness prediction. In the case of emotion prediction, BERT models obtain very good results only on the 6 seconds dataset. This is due to the fact that, in this case, we have flattened all emotions into a single category, thus it may be difficult for the model to distinguish between general emotionally charged sentences and those that are not perceived as emotionally charged. When emotions are specific and clearly separated, as in happiness and sadness cases, BERT is able to infer the perceived emotions even from small amounts of text (2 and 4 seconds datasets). BERTover and BERTtransf tend to give better performances than what happens with BERTorig. In the case of BERTover, there is a very slight difference in the prediction of happiness and sadness, as in these cases the classes to be predicted were distributed quite evenly. In the case of emotion prediction, the model is helped by the higher representation of the neutral class. With BERTtransf, the performances stay in line with the ones obtained with the bare oversampling. Fine tuning the model on similar data did not add any more useful information. This is due to the fact that SemEval data were too distant from the ones of our dataset. Therefore, even though the task is similar to ours, the input text is too different from our sentences to actually make a huge difference for the prediction. We also tried another form of transfer learning, tuning the model on one subject and testing it on the other one. However, the results were too low and we did not report them. This is because emotion perception is a very personal phenomenon and it cannot be easily generalised to different individuals.

10To further evaluate the results, we computed the percentage of agreement between the two models that overall had the best performances, BERTover and BERTtransf. We defined agreement as the percentage of sentences for which the models gave the same output during the classification task. Table 5 reports the results for emotion, happiness and sadness, for every timespan window, and for both subjects 4 and subject 8. The agreement is quite high in all cases, and it tends to get stronger with the amount of text on which models are trained (i.e. 6 seconds). A higher level of agreement indicates that the models have similar behaviour, thus making the same mistakes in the classification task. The lowest levels of agreement are encountered on the classification of happiness, showing that the two models work differently in this part of the task. Indeed, both BERTover and BERTtransf obtain high performances in predicting happiness, but the fact that their agreement is lower suggests that they differ in the mistakes they make in the classification. We may exploit this information to create systems that combine different classifiers, actually enhancing the classification accuracy. By doing this, it is possible to compare the cases in which two or more classifiers agree and the cases in which they make mistakes, thus choosing the best classification output accordingly.

Table 5: Agreement (%) between BERTover and BERTtransf predictions

subject 4

subject 8

2sec

4sec

6sec

2sec

4sec

6sec

emo.

82.75

83.63

85.82

82.03

87.8

90.44

hap.

70.77

72.64

79.78

76.26

72.31

79.67

sad.

82.53

85.93

87.47

80.44

79.45

85.05

11As emotional response is directly correlated with brain activity, we plan to add fMRI images recorded during the vision of the movie to the contextual embedding we extracted. In this way, we could verify if brain images can help to increase the accuracy in the prediction of perceived emotions.

5. Conclusion

12In this paper, we presented a dataset of sentences extracted from the movie Forrest Gump, annotated with the emotions that a group of subjects perceived while watching the movie, and we studied how to predict these emotions. To do so, we retrieved different kinds of features from the sentences pronounced by the characters of the movie. We showed that contextual embeddings extracted from the sentences can accurately predict specific emotions, even if the amount of text used for the prediction is very little. Instead, when predicting generic emotional elicitation, a larger amount of text is required for an accurate prediction. We also show that lexical, morpho-syntactic and syntactic aspects of the sentences cannot be used to infer emotional elicitation during the view of the movie.

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