Artificial Intelligence

NL Seminar-"Modelling the interplay of metaphor and emotion, and a peek at the underlying cognitive mechanisms"

Thursday, August 08, 2019, 11:00am - 12:00pm PDTiCal
10th Floor-CR#1014
This event is open to the public.
Nl Seminar
Ekaterina Shutova (Univ of Amsterdam)

Abstract: Besides making our thoughts more vivid and filling our communication with richer imagery, metaphor plays a fundamental structural role in our cognition, helping us to organise and project knowledge. For example, when we say "a well-oiled political machine", we view the concept of political system in terms of a mechanism and transfer inferences from the domain of mechanisms onto our reasoning about political processes. Much previous research on metaphor in linguistics and psychology suggests that metaphorical phrases tend to be more emotionally evocative than their literal counterparts. In this talk, I will present our recent work investigating the relationship between metaphor and emotion within a computational framework, by proposing the first joint model of these phenomena. We experiment with several multitask learning architectures for this purpose and demonstrate that metaphor identification and emotion prediction mutually benefit from joint learning, advancing the state of the art in both of these tasks.

In the second half of the talk, I will discuss how general-purpose semantic representations can be used to better understand metaphor processing in the human brain. In a series of experiments, we evaluate a range of semantic models (word embeddings, compositional models, visual and multimodal models) in their ability to decode brain activity associated with reading of literal and metaphoric sentences. Our results point to interesting differences in the processing of metaphorical and literal language.

Bio: Ekaterina Shutova is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam. Her research is in the area of natural language processing with a specific focus on computational semantics, figurative language processing, multilingual NLP and cognitively-driven semantics. Previously, she worked at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and the International Computer Science Institute and the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge in 2011.

« Return to Events