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Understanding Mental States in Natural Language

Wei Chen

Eighth International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS-8 2009)
Tilburg University, Netherlands, January 7-9, 2009


Understanding mental states in narratives is an important aspect of human language comprehension. By "mental states" we refer to beliefs, states of knowledge, points of view, and suppositions, all of which may change over time. In this paper, we propose an approach for automatically extracting and understanding multiple mental states in stories. Our model consists of two parts: (1) a parser that takes an English sentence and translates it to some semantic operations; (2) a mental-state inference engine that reads in the semantic operations and produces a situation model that represents the meaning of the sentence. We present the performance of the system on a corpus of children stories containing both fictional and non-fictional texts.

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