AbstractThe neural encoder-decoder models have shown great promise in neural conversation generation. However, they cannot perceive and express the intention effectively, and hence often generate dull and generic responses. Unlike past work that has focused on diversifying the output at word-level or discourse-level with a flat model to alleviate this problem, we propose a hierarchical generation model to capture the different levels of diversity using the conditional variational autoencoders. Specifically, a hierarchical response generation (HRG) framework is proposed to capture the conversation intention in a natural and coherent way. It has two modules, namely, an expression reconstruction model to capture the hierarchical correlation between expression and intention, and an expression attention model to effectively combine the expressions with contents. Finally, the training procedure of HRG is improved by introducing reconstruction loss. Experiment results show that our model can generate the responses with more appropriate content and expression.