Can Large Language Models Capture Public Opinion about Global Warming? An Empirical Assessment of Algorithmic Fidelity and Bias

Paper by S. Lee et all: “Large language models (LLMs) have demonstrated their potential in social science research by emulating human perceptions and behaviors, a concept referred to as algorithmic fidelity. This study assesses the algorithmic fidelity and bias of LLMs by utilizing two nationally representative climate change surveys. The LLMs were conditioned on demographics and/or psychological covariates to simulate survey responses. The findings indicate that LLMs can effectively capture presidential voting behaviors but encounter challenges in accurately representing global warming perspectives when relevant covariates are not included. GPT-4 exhibits improved performance when conditioned on both demographics and covariates. However, disparities emerge in LLM estimations of the views of certain groups, with LLMs tending to underestimate worry about global warming among Black Americans. While highlighting the potential of LLMs to aid social science research, these results underscore the importance of meticulous conditioning, model selection, survey question format, and bias assessment when employing LLMs for survey simulation. Further investigation into prompt engineering and algorithm auditing is essential to harness the power of LLMs while addressing their inherent limitations…(More)”.

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