Languages: en
Multilinguality: monolingual
Size Categories: 100K<n<1M
Licenses: gpl-3.0+
Language Creators: found
Annotations Creators: found
Source Datasets: original

Dataset Card for PEC

Dataset Summary

The PEC dataset is an English-language dataset of open-domain conversations gathered from two subreddits on Reddit, i.e., happy and offmychest. PEC has around 350K persona-based empathetic conversations. Each utterance is associated with a speaker, and each speaker has a persona of multiple persona sentences. The conversations in PEC are more empathetic than casual conversations. The conversations in the happy domain are mostly positive, whereas the conversations in the offmychest domain are mostly negative.

Supported Tasks and Leaderboards

  • dialogue-modeling, utterance-retrieval: this dataset can be used to train a generative or retrieval-based conversational model.



Dataset Structure

Data Instances

A typical data example comprises a list of context utterances, a list of context speakers, a response to the context, the response speaker and the persona of the response speaker.

An example from PEC looks as follows:

{'context': ['found out this morning i got a job promotion ! ! !'],
 'context_speakers': ['HeWentToJared91'],
 'personas': [
  "i ca n't stand working in the ugli .",
  'i ’ve always liked my eyes except for the fact that they ca n’t shoot lasers',
  'i feel really bad about myself as a person right now , and i could really use a hand .',
  'i drank a coffee , and it just made me feel even more exhausted .',
  'i want a natsuki t shirt',
  "i 've dealt with depression in the past .",
  'i love red dead 2'],
 'response': "you look like a nice person ! we 're proud of you , and i bet you earned that promotion !",
 'response_speaker': 'tylock'}

Data Fields

  • context: a list of strings, each string denotes a context utterance.
  • context_speakers: a list of strings, each string denotes a speaker.
  • response: a string denoting the response to the context.
  • response_speaker: a string denoting the speaker of response.
  • personas: a list of strings, each string denotes a persona sentence of response_speaker.

Data Splits

The data is split into a training, validation and test set for each of the three domains. Note that the all domain is the concatenation of the happy and offmychest domains.

domain Tain Valid Test
happy 157195 19829 22730
offmychest 123968 16004 15324
all 281163 35833 38054

Dataset Creation

Curation Rationale

PEC was built to provide a testbed for machines to learn persona-based empathetic responding. In our empirical analysis, we found that different personas have different styles of empathetic responding. This dataset can also be used to investigate the link between persona and empathy in human conversations. According to our human assessment, the conversations on the happy and offmychest subreddits are significantly more empathetic than casual conversations.

Source Data

Initial Data Collection and Normalization

The data was obtained via the pushshift API via Google BigQuery.

Who are the source language producers?

The language producers are users of the r/happy, and r/offmychest subreddits between 2012 and 2020. No further demographic information was available from the data source.


Annotation process

The dataset does not contain any additional annotations.

Who are the annotators?

[More Information Needed]

Personal and Sensitive Information

The dataset includes the speaker IDs of users on happy and offmychest subreddits.

Considerations for Using the Data

Social Impact of Dataset

The purpose of this dataset is to help develop more personalised and empathetic conversational systems, which is an important milestone towards truly human-like conversational agents.

Discussion of Biases

[More Information Needed]

Other Known Limitations

A small portion of the dataset has the issues of sexism, hate, and harassment. The persona sentences are noisy.

Additional Information

Dataset Curators

The dataset was initially created by Peixiang Zhong, Chen Zhang, Hao Wang, Yong Liu, and Chunyan Miao, jointly done at Nanyang Technological University and Alibaba Group.

Licensing Information

The licensing status of the dataset hinges on the legal status of the data which is unclear.

Citation Information

    title = "Towards Persona-Based Empathetic Conversational Models",
    author = "Zhong, Peixiang  and
      Zhang, Chen  and
      Wang, Hao  and
      Liu, Yong  and
      Miao, Chunyan",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)",
    year = "2020",
    publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
    url = "",
    pages = "6556--6566"


Thanks to @zhongpeixiang for adding this dataset.

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Models trained or fine-tuned on pec

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