Temporal Conformity-aware Hawkes Graph Network for Recommendations


Many existing recommender systems (RSs) assume user behavior is governed solely by their interests. However, the peer effect often influences individual decision-making, which leads to conformity behavior. Conventional solutions that eliminate indiscriminately such bias may cause RSs to neglect valuable information and depersonalize the recommendation results. Also, conformity can transform into user interest, e.g., discovering new tastes after a glance at popular music. By better representing different forms of conformity influence, we can do a better job at interest mining and debiasing. In certain extreme circumstances, the herd effect may be exacerbated by user anxiety with uncertainty (e.g., panic buying during the COVID-19 pandemic). RSs may thus fail to respond in time due to sudden and dramatic changes. Moreover, many existing studies potentially conflate conformity bias with popularity bias and lump together various factors responsible for differences in popularity. In this paper, we identify two distinct types of conformity behavior: informational conformity and normative conformity. To address this, we introduce the TCHN model, which utilizes attentional Hawkes processes to disentangle user self-interest and conformity in a personalized manner. Our approach incorporates temporal graph attention networks to capture users’ stable and volatile dynamics. We conduct experiments on three real-world datasets, which uncover diverse levels of conformity among users. The results show that TCHN excels in recommendation accuracy, diversity, and fairness across various user groups.

Proceedings of the ACM Web Conference 2024
Chenglong Ma
Chenglong Ma
Ph.D. Student in Computer Science

Advancing Recommender System: PhD Candidate on a Mission to Optimize User Experiences!