Understanding the Multi-modal Prompts of the Pre-trained Vision-Language Model

18 Dec 2023  ·  Shuailei Ma, Chen-Wei Xie, Ying WEI, Siyang Sun, Jiaqi Fan, Xiaoyi Bao, Yuxin Guo, Yun Zheng ·

Prompt learning has emerged as an efficient alternative for fine-tuning foundational models, such as CLIP, for various downstream tasks. However, there is no work that provides a comprehensive explanation for the working mechanism of the multi-modal prompts. In this paper, we conduct a direct analysis of the multi-modal prompts by asking the following questions: $(i)$ How do the learned multi-modal prompts improve the recognition performance? $(ii)$ What do the multi-modal prompts learn? To answer these questions, we begin by isolating the component of the formula where the prompt influences the calculation of self-attention at each layer in two distinct ways, \ie, $(1)$ introducing prompt embeddings makes the $[cls]$ token focus on foreground objects. $(2)$ the prompts learn a bias term during the update of token embeddings, allowing the model to adapt to the target domain. Subsequently, we conduct extensive visualization and statistical experiments on the eleven diverse downstream recognition datasets. From the experiments, we reveal that the learned prompts improve the performance mainly through the second way, which acts as the dataset bias to improve the recognition performance of the pre-trained model on the corresponding dataset. Meanwhile, we propose the bias tuning way to validate our finding. With a deeper understanding of the multi-modal prompt, we hope our work can inspire new and solid research in this direction.

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