Visual Superordinate Abstraction for Robust Concept Learning

28 May 2022  ·  Qi Zheng, Chaoyue Wang, Dadong Wang, DaCheng Tao ·

Concept learning constructs visual representations that are connected to linguistic semantics, which is fundamental to vision-language tasks. Although promising progress has been made, existing concept learners are still vulnerable to attribute perturbations and out-of-distribution compositions during inference. We ascribe the bottleneck to a failure of exploring the intrinsic semantic hierarchy of visual concepts, e.g. \{red, blue,...\} $\in$ `color' subspace yet cube $\in$ `shape'. In this paper, we propose a visual superordinate abstraction framework for explicitly modeling semantic-aware visual subspaces (i.e. visual superordinates). With only natural visual question answering data, our model first acquires the semantic hierarchy from a linguistic view, and then explores mutually exclusive visual superordinates under the guidance of linguistic hierarchy. In addition, a quasi-center visual concept clustering and a superordinate shortcut learning schemes are proposed to enhance the discrimination and independence of concepts within each visual superordinate. Experiments demonstrate the superiority of the proposed framework under diverse settings, which increases the overall answering accuracy relatively by 7.5\% on reasoning with perturbations and 15.6\% on compositional generalization tests.

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