Detecting duplicate patient participation in clinical trials is a major challenge because repeated patients can undermine the credibility and accuracy of the trial's findings and result in significant health and financial risks. Developing accurate automated speaker verification (ASV) models is crucial to verify the identity of enrolled individuals and remove duplicates, but the size and quality of data influence ASV performance. However, there has been limited investigation into the factors that can affect ASV capabilities in clinical environments. In this paper, we bridge the gap by conducting analysis of how participant demographic characteristics, audio quality criteria, and severity level of Alzheimer's disease (AD) impact the performance of ASV utilizing a dataset of speech recordings from 659 participants with varying levels of AD, obtained through multiple speech tasks. Our results indicate that ASV performance: 1) is slightly better on male speakers than on female speakers; 2) degrades for individuals who are above 70 years old; 3) is comparatively better for non-native English speakers than for native English speakers; 4) is negatively affected by clinician interference, noisy background, and unclear participant speech; 5) tends to decrease with an increase in the severity level of AD. Our study finds that voice biometrics raise fairness concerns as certain subgroups exhibit different ASV performances owing to their inherent voice characteristics. Moreover, the performance of ASV is influenced by the quality of speech recordings, which underscores the importance of improving the data collection settings in clinical trials.
Mental distress like depression and anxiety contribute to the largest proportion of the global burden of diseases. Automated diagnosis systems of such disorders, empowered by recent innovations in Artificial Intelligence, can pave the way to reduce the sufferings of the affected individuals. Development of such systems requires information-rich and balanced corpora. In this work, we introduce a novel mental distress analysis audio dataset DEPAC, labeled based on established thresholds on depression and anxiety standard screening tools. This large dataset comprises multiple speech tasks per individual, as well as relevant demographic information. Alongside, we present a feature set consisting of hand-curated acoustic and linguistic features, which were found effective in identifying signs of mental illnesses in human speech. Finally, we justify the quality and effectiveness of our proposed audio corpus and feature set in predicting depression severity by comparing the performance of baseline machine learning models built on this dataset with baseline models trained on other well-known depression corpora.
Depression is the most common psychological disorder and is considered as a leading cause of disability and suicide worldwide. An automated system capable of detecting signs of depression in human speech can contribute to ensuring timely and effective mental health care for individuals suffering from the disorder. Developing such automated system requires accurate machine learning models, capable of capturing signs of depression. However, state-of-the-art models based on deep acoustic representations require abundant data, meticulous selection of features, and rigorous training; the procedure involves enormous computational resources. In this work, we explore the effectiveness of two different acoustic feature groups - conventional hand-curated and deep representation features, for predicting the severity of depression from speech. We explore the relevance of possible contributing factors to the models' performance, including gender of the individual, severity of the disorder, content and length of speech. Our findings suggest that models trained on conventional acoustic features perform equally well or better than the ones trained on deep representation features at significantly lower computational cost, irrespective of other factors, e.g. content and length of speech, gender of the speaker and severity of the disorder. This makes such models a better fit for deployment where availability of computational resources is restricted, such as real time depression monitoring applications in smart devices.
Traditional screening practices for anxiety and depression pose an impediment to monitoring and treating these conditions effectively. However, recent advances in NLP and speech modelling allow textual, acoustic, and hand-crafted language-based features to jointly form the basis of future mental health screening and condition detection. Speech is a rich and readily available source of insight into an individual's cognitive state and by leveraging different aspects of speech, we can develop new digital biomarkers for depression and anxiety. To this end, we propose a multi-modal system for the screening of depression and anxiety from self-administered speech tasks. The proposed model integrates deep-learned features from audio and text, as well as hand-crafted features that are informed by clinically-validated domain knowledge. We find that augmenting hand-crafted features with deep-learned features improves our overall classification F1 score comparing to a baseline of hand-crafted features alone from 0.58 to 0.63 for depression and from 0.54 to 0.57 for anxiety. The findings of our work suggest that speech-based biomarkers for depression and anxiety hold significant promise in the future of digital health.
Large language models (LLMs) have been shown to be able to perform new tasks based on a few demonstrations or natural language instructions. While these capabilities have led to widespread adoption, most LLMs are developed by resource-rich organizations and are frequently kept from the public. As a step towards democratizing this powerful technology, we present BLOOM, a 176B-parameter open-access language model designed and built thanks to a collaboration of hundreds of researchers. BLOOM is a decoder-only Transformer language model that was trained on the ROOTS corpus, a dataset comprising hundreds of sources in 46 natural and 13 programming languages (59 in total). We find that BLOOM achieves competitive performance on a wide variety of benchmarks, with stronger results after undergoing multitask prompted finetuning. To facilitate future research and applications using LLMs, we publicly release our models and code under the Responsible AI License.
A significant number of studies apply acoustic and linguistic characteristics of human speech as prominent markers of dementia and depression. However, studies on discriminating depression from dementia are rare. Co-morbid depression is frequent in dementia and these clinical conditions share many overlapping symptoms, but the ability to distinguish between depression and dementia is essential as depression is often curable. In this work, we investigate the ability of clustering approaches in distinguishing between depression and dementia from human speech. We introduce a novel aggregated dataset, which combines narrative speech data from multiple conditions, i.e., Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, healthy control, and depression. We compare linear and non-linear clustering approaches and show that non-linear clustering techniques distinguish better between distinct disease clusters. Our interpretability analysis shows that the main differentiating symptoms between dementia and depression are acoustic abnormality, repetitiveness (or circularity) of speech, word finding difficulty, coherence impairment, and differences in lexical complexity and richness.
Models that accurately detect depression from text are important tools for addressing the post-pandemic mental health crisis. BERT-based classifiers' promising performance and the off-the-shelf availability make them great candidates for this task. However, these models are known to suffer from performance inconsistencies and poor generalization. In this paper, we introduce the DECK (DEpression ChecKlist), depression-specific model behavioural tests that allow better interpretability and improve generalizability of BERT classifiers in depression domain. We create 23 tests to evaluate BERT, RoBERTa and ALBERT depression classifiers on three datasets, two Twitter-based and one clinical interview-based. Our evaluation shows that these models: 1) are robust to certain gender-sensitive variations in text; 2) rely on the important depressive language marker of the increased use of first person pronouns; 3) fail to detect some other depression symptoms like suicidal ideation. We also demonstrate that DECK tests can be used to incorporate symptom-specific information in the training data and consistently improve generalizability of all three BERT models, with an out-of-distribution F1-score increase of up to 53.93%.
Evaluation in machine learning is usually informed by past choices, for example which datasets or metrics to use. This standardization enables the comparison on equal footing using leaderboards, but the evaluation choices become sub-optimal as better alternatives arise. This problem is especially pertinent in natural language generation which requires ever-improving suites of datasets, metrics, and human evaluation to make definitive claims. To make following best model evaluation practices easier, we introduce GEMv2. The new version of the Generation, Evaluation, and Metrics Benchmark introduces a modular infrastructure for dataset, model, and metric developers to benefit from each others work. GEMv2 supports 40 documented datasets in 51 languages. Models for all datasets can be evaluated online and our interactive data card creation and rendering tools make it easier to add new datasets to the living benchmark.
Language models demonstrate both quantitative improvement and new qualitative capabilities with increasing scale. Despite their potentially transformative impact, these new capabilities are as yet poorly characterized. In order to inform future research, prepare for disruptive new model capabilities, and ameliorate socially harmful effects, it is vital that we understand the present and near-future capabilities and limitations of language models. To address this challenge, we introduce the Beyond the Imitation Game benchmark (BIG-bench). BIG-bench currently consists of 204 tasks, contributed by 442 authors across 132 institutions. Task topics are diverse, drawing problems from linguistics, childhood development, math, common-sense reasoning, biology, physics, social bias, software development, and beyond. BIG-bench focuses on tasks that are believed to be beyond the capabilities of current language models. We evaluate the behavior of OpenAI's GPT models, Google-internal dense transformer architectures, and Switch-style sparse transformers on BIG-bench, across model sizes spanning millions to hundreds of billions of parameters. In addition, a team of human expert raters performed all tasks in order to provide a strong baseline. Findings include: model performance and calibration both improve with scale, but are poor in absolute terms (and when compared with rater performance); performance is remarkably similar across model classes, though with benefits from sparsity; tasks that improve gradually and predictably commonly involve a large knowledge or memorization component, whereas tasks that exhibit "breakthrough" behavior at a critical scale often involve multiple steps or components, or brittle metrics; social bias typically increases with scale in settings with ambiguous context, but this can be improved with prompting.