Predicting judgments of food healthiness with deep latent-construct cultural consensus theory

July 15, 2023

Deep neural network representations of entities can serve as inputs to computational models of human mental representations to predict people’s behavioral and physiological responses to those entities. Though increasingly successful in their predictive capabilities, the implicit notion of ”human” that they rely upon often glosses over individual-level differences in beliefs, attitudes, and associations, as well as group-level cultural constructs. In this paper, we model shared representations of food healthiness by aligning learned word representations with the consensus among a group of respondents. To do so, we extend Cultural Consensus Theory to include latent constructs structured as fine-tuned word representations. We then apply the model to a dataset of people’s judgments of food healthiness. We show that our method creates a robust mapping between learned word representations and culturally constructed representations that guide consumer behavior.