Enhancing Empathetic Response Generation by Augmenting LLMs with Small-scale Empathetic Models

19 Feb 2024  ·  Zhou Yang, Zhaochun Ren, Wang Yufeng, Shizhong Peng, Haizhou Sun, Xiaofei Zhu, Xiangwen Liao ·

Empathetic response generation is increasingly significant in AI, necessitating nuanced emotional and cognitive understanding coupled with articulate response expression. Current large language models (LLMs) excel in response expression; however, they lack the ability to deeply understand emotional and cognitive nuances, particularly in pinpointing fine-grained emotions and their triggers. Conversely, small-scale empathetic models (SEMs) offer strength in fine-grained emotion detection and detailed emotion cause identification. To harness the complementary strengths of both LLMs and SEMs, we introduce a Hybrid Empathetic Framework (HEF). HEF regards SEMs as flexible plugins to improve LLM's nuanced emotional and cognitive understanding. Regarding emotional understanding, HEF implements a two-stage emotion prediction strategy, encouraging LLMs to prioritize primary emotions emphasized by SEMs, followed by other categories, substantially alleviates the difficulties for LLMs in fine-grained emotion detection. Regarding cognitive understanding, HEF employs an emotion cause perception strategy, prompting LLMs to focus on crucial emotion-eliciting words identified by SEMs, thus boosting LLMs' capabilities in identifying emotion causes. This collaborative approach enables LLMs to discern emotions more precisely and formulate empathetic responses. We validate HEF on the Empathetic-Dialogue dataset, and the findings indicate that our framework enhances the refined understanding of LLMs and their ability to convey empathetic responses.

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Human-Computer Interaction


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