Probing Neural Language Models for Human Tacit Assumptions

10 Apr 2020  ·  Nathaniel Weir, Adam Poliak, Benjamin Van Durme ·

Humans carry stereotypic tacit assumptions (STAs) (Prince, 1978), or propositional beliefs about generic concepts. Such associations are crucial for understanding natural language. We construct a diagnostic set of word prediction prompts to evaluate whether recent neural contextualized language models trained on large text corpora capture STAs. Our prompts are based on human responses in a psychological study of conceptual associations. We find models to be profoundly effective at retrieving concepts given associated properties. Our results demonstrate empirical evidence that stereotypic conceptual representations are captured in neural models derived from semi-supervised linguistic exposure.

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