We investigate the use of NLP as a measure of the cognitive processes involved in storytelling, contrasting imagination and recollection of events. To facilitate this, we collect and release Hippocorpus, a dataset of 7,000 stories about imagined and recalled events. We introduce a measure of narrative flow and use this to examine the narratives for imagined and recalled events. Additionally, we measure the differential recruitment of knowledge attributed to semantic memory versus episodic memory (Tulving, 1972) for imagined and recalled storytelling by comparing the frequency of descriptions of general commonsense events with more specific realis events. Our analyses show that imagined stories have a substantially more linear narrative flow, compared to recalled stories in which adjacent sentences are more disconnected. In addition, while recalled stories rely more on autobiographical events based on episodic memory, imagined stories express more commonsense knowledge based on semantic memory. Finally, our measures reveal the effect of narrativization of memories in stories (e.g., stories about frequently recalled memories flow more linearly; Bartlett, 1932). Our findings highlight the potential of using NLP tools to study the traces of human cognition in language.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked unprecedented mobilization of scientists, generating a deluge of papers that makes it hard for researchers to keep track and explore new directions. Search engines are designed for targeted queries, not for discovery of connections across a corpus. In this paper, we present SciSight, a system for exploratory search of COVID-19 research integrating two key capabilities: first, exploring associations between biomedical facets automatically extracted from papers (e.g., genes, drugs, diseases, patient outcomes); second, combining textual and network information to search and visualize groups of researchers and their ties. SciSight has so far served over 15K users with over 42K page views and 13% returns.
Computerized generation of humor is a notoriously difficult AI problem. We develop an algorithm called Libitum that helps humans generate humor in a Mad Lib, which is a popular fill-in-the-blank game. The algorithm is based on a machine learned classifier that determines whether a potential fill-in word is funny in the context of the Mad Lib story. We use Amazon Mechanical Turk to create ground truth data and to judge humor for our classifier to mimic, and we make this data freely available. Our testing shows that Libitum successfully aids humans in filling in Mad Libs that are usually judged funnier than those filled in by humans with no computerized help. We go on to analyze why some words are better than others at making a Mad Lib funny.