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Intersecting Demographics: Bayesian Multilevel Models Reveal Age, Gender, and Racial Differences in Safety Perception of Chatbot Conversations

Chris Homan
Greg Serapio-García
Lora Aroyo
Alex Taylor


Chatbots based on large language models (LLM) exhibit a level of human-like behavior that promises to have profound impacts on how people access information, create content, and seek social support. Yet these models have also shown a propensity toward biases and hallucinations, i.e., make up entirely false information and convey it as truthful. Consequently, understanding and moderating safety risks in these models is a critical technical and social challenge. We use Bayesian multilevel models to explore the connection between rater demographics and their perception of safety in chatbot dialogues. We study a sample of 252 human raters stratified by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and location. Raters were asked to annotate the safety risks of 1,340 chatbot conversations. We show that raters from certain demographic groups are more likely to report safety risks than raters from other groups. We discuss the implications of these differences in safety perception and suggest measures to ameliorate these differences.