Large language models predict human sensory judgments across six modalities

2 Feb 2023  ·  Raja Marjieh, Ilia Sucholutsky, Pol van Rijn, Nori Jacoby, Thomas L. Griffiths ·

Determining the extent to which the perceptual world can be recovered from language is a longstanding problem in philosophy and cognitive science. We show that state-of-the-art large language models can unlock new insights into this problem by providing a lower bound on the amount of perceptual information that can be extracted from language. Specifically, we elicit pairwise similarity judgments from GPT models across six psychophysical datasets. We show that the judgments are significantly correlated with human data across all domains, recovering well-known representations like the color wheel and pitch spiral. Surprisingly, we find that a model (GPT-4) co-trained on vision and language does not necessarily lead to improvements specific to the visual modality. To study the influence of specific languages on perception, we also apply the models to a multilingual color-naming task. We find that GPT-4 replicates cross-linguistic variation in English and Russian illuminating the interaction of language and perception.

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